Big change for #TheNew10 dollar bill

Jun 18, 2015 11:22 AM by News Staff

A woman will soon grace the face of American cash.

In five years, the Treasury department will replace Alexander Hamilton featured on the $10 bill with a historical female figure.

"It's time for a woman to be back on our paper currency," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told CBS News correspondent Julianna Goldman.

After nearly 120 years, Lew said America's cash will finally honor the contributions of women.

"It is a signal to the world of what we think and representing all of our people in our history is part of who we are," Lew said.

The pick of the $10 bill is a bit of a surprise. Over the last several months, a campaign to put a woman on the $20 bill went viral.

More than 600,000 votes were cast to replace President Andrew Jackson, with abolitionist Harriet Tubman winning out.

While some might say the $10 is not as "prestigious" as the $20 bill, Lew said he thinks the "$10 bill is a pretty big deal."

"I think the $10 bill is one of our most widely used bills, and it is, I think, as important as the 20," Lew said.

Women on 20s, the group who advocated for the $20 bill replacement, said they were "psyched," but called the decision "not perfect."

The government routinely redesigns currency for security reasons so that it's more difficult to counterfeit.

The $10 bill was next in line and set to be unveiled in 2020, which also happens to be the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote. So Lew said putting a woman on it, not only made dollars, it made sense.

Lew's spending the summer asking the public for input, holding town halls and seeking suggestions through a new website and the social media hashtag: #thenew10.

He might even get some proposals from the commander in chief himself, who endorsed the idea last year.

"A young girl wrote to ask me why aren't there any women on our currency, and then she gave me like a long list of possible women to put on our dollar bills and quarters and stuff -- which I thought was a pretty good idea," Obama said.

Lew is the one who ultimately makes the decision, but he said no woman has been chosen yet.

"I have a bunch of candidates, but I am going to actually withhold my judgment until I hear from a number of more people as we go through this listening process," Lew said.

He said the decision could come as early as this fall.

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Most Popular