10 Women Appearing on American Currency

Despite strongly advocating gender equality, American women continue to be underrepresented in several arenas, including currency representation. The United States is one of the countries that doesn’t currently display any women on its banknotes. The honor has been biased towards all men—the five Presidents and founding fathers of the United States.

There have been rare instances where females have graced U.S. paper bills and coins.


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Pocahontas appeared on a $20 bill in a group picture from 1865 to 1869 during the National Bank Notes First Charter Period. Her image is believed to be portraying her baptism ceremony.

She played a crucial role in fostering peace between Native Americans and English settlers in Jamestown, Virginia, during the early 1600s.

Martha Washington

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Martha Washington, the former first lady of the United States, is the first and only woman to have her primary portrait on the U.S. paper currency. She was first featured on the front of a $1 silver certificate for six years between 1886 and 1891. Five years later, in 1896, she found her place on the reverse side of the $1 bill along with her husband, George Washington, the first president of the United States.

Her image on the currency draws inspiration from her portrait made by French painter Charles François Jalabert.

Lady Liberty

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The mythical goddess of Liberty was integral to all circulating coins for more than 100 years of American coinage. The U.S. Mint’s first coins portrayed her as a woman with free, flowing hair. Over the centuries, her depictions evolved into other symbols and faces of Presidents to mark the shifts in the American culture.

Two non-mythical women, Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea, also represented the new emblem of Liberty. The modern rendition of Liberty appeared as a modern African American woman for the first time during the American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin in 2017.

Queen Isabella of Spain

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Queen Isabella became the first real woman to be featured on a U.S. coin. In 1893, at the request of the World’s Columbian Exposition. The coin was issued as a commemorative coin marking the 400th anniversary of acclaimed explorer Christopher Columbus’s 1492 discovery of America.

Susan B. Anthony

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Susan B. Anthony was the first woman to feature on a U.S. circulating coin from 1979 to 1981 and then in 1999. The U.S. Mint officially released her coin in Rochester, New York, where she had led an active political life for several years. These coins are still in circulation today.

She etched her name in the history of the United States as a prominent leader of the women’s suffrage movement. She traveled the length and breadth of the country, delivering speeches to campaign for women’s rights.


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The inscription Sacagawea appeared on the coin that the U.S. Mint released from 2000 to 2008. The outer layer of the coin was made from manganese brass, which lent it a golden color. Hence, it was known as the Sacagawea Golden Dollar. The design features Sacagawea with her infant son, Jean Baptiste, on her back. She continues to appear on the obverse of the Native American Coin $1 Program.

Sacagawea was a Native-American woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition team as an interpreter and guide. This was one of the most noteworthy missions in the history of American exploration.

Helen Keller

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The coin honoring Helen Keller was unveiled during the 2003 Alabama State Quarter. It is the portrayal of Helen Keller sitting in a chair and reading a book. It also highlights her name in braille, making it the first U.S. circulating coin to use braille in minting coins.

Helen Keller rightly deserves her place in the currency. She overcame her blindness and deafness by dedicating her life to serving people with disabilities as an educator and writer.

Elizabeth Peratrovich

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The U.S. Mint celebrated the 75th anniversary of Elizabeth Peratrovich, a Native American civil rights activist, by issuing coins in her honor. She is believed to be a strong force behind the approval of anti-discriminatory law in 1945.

The coin depicts her face and a raven, symbolizing a decent group called Tlingit Raven Moiety, of which she was a member.

Harriet Tubman

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Harriet Tubman found her life’s purpose as an abolitionist and social activist after she escaped slavery. She rescued 70 people from bondage during ten years as a conductor of the Underground Railroad.

The U.S. Mint acknowledged her impact on people’s lives by issuing Commemorative Coins in $5 gold, $1 silver, and half dollars. The coins celebrate the bicentennial of her birth and show her extending a hand towards freedom. She might also adorn a $20 bill in a few years, making her the first woman after Martha Washington to secure a place on U.S. federal paper money.

Pioneering American Women

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The United States launched the ‘American Women Quarters Program’ (2022-2025) to applaud 20 women for their groundbreaking work in different fields. The list includes Maya Angelou, Dr. Sally Ride, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, Althea Gibson, and others.

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