The New Female Face of the $10 Bill

by Olivia Chow | June 18, 2015 6:41 pm

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has announced that a to-be-determined woman will be pushing Alexander Hamilton from the focal point of the $10 in 2020. This will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman.

While the final decision lies with Lew, he and President Obama will discuss options from the public being collected over the hashtag #TheNew10. The criteria for the new face of the $10 dollar bill require the chosen woman be deceased and underscores the theme of American democracy.

No matter who the lucky lady ends up being on the $10 dollar bill, that fact remains that in the current day her earned wages will not actually add up to $10 that her male counterpart makes.

Here are some suggestions of ladies to be #TheNew10, even though the value will carry the same old gender pay inequities.


Alice Paul

Alice Paul (1885-1977) founded the National Women’s Party and was the first person to picket the White House, and really what’s more American than practicing our freedoms of speech for equality? Paul advocated for the use of nonviolent civil disobedience that included the largest parade ever in 1913 of 8,000 marchers for women’s enfranchisement.

Her activism included a 1917 stint in jail where she organized hunger strikes, endured several beatings, was force-fed raw eggs through a feeding tube and was put in solitary confinement. Public outcry from her treatment in prison led to her release and the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

Employers pay white women $7.80 for the same job where white men are earning $10.


Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama (1921 – 2014) was displaced by the Japanese Internment, while interned she met her future husband and the two moved into New York public housing in 1948.

She attributes living in housing projects among black and Puerto Rican neighbors as a major impetus for her activism.

She is well known for her unlikely friendship with Malcolm X, having joined his efforts on black nationalism and was at his side for his last speech in New York City where he was assassinated.

Asian American women make $9 for the same work that white men do for $10.

Note: This data point does not disaggregate for differential earnings of East Asian, South Asian or Desi and Southeast Asian American women.



Queen Lili’uokalani

Queen Lili’uokalani (1838 – 1917) was the last monarch before the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi’ was overthrown by the United States. She was the first Native Hawaiian female author after publishing Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawai’i’s Queen.

When she passed away she had all of her possessions and properties sold so that the money would go to the Queen Lili’uokalani Trust to help orphaned and destitute Native Hawaiʻi’an children. The Trust and the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center are still operating to this day.

Today’s working Native Hawaiʻi’an and Pacific Islander women would earn $6.50 to a white man’s $10 for the same job.


Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm (1924 – 2005) was the first African-American woman elected to Congress, her Congressional office was staffed entirely with women, half of whom were African-American.

She championed issues to improve the lives of women, children and their families, including the creation of the WIC nutrition program.

She is a trailblazer in every sense of the term as a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, founding member of National Women’s Political Caucus, and the first woman and the first African-American to enter the Democratic presidential race.

Today where a white male is paid $10 for work, black women earn $6.40 for that same work.

A recent report And Still I Rise takes a deeper look at employment and leadership for black women workers, concentrated in low-wage jobs and three times more likely than white women to be the single wage earners for children under the age of 18.


Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller (1945 – 2010) was the first elected female chief of a Native nation in modern times as the chief of the Cherokee Nation.

“Prior to my election, Cherokee girls would have never thought that they might grow up and become chief,” Mankiller said.

During her reign, she advocated for extensive community development, self-help, education and healthcare programs to revitalize the Cherokee Nation to 300,000 citizens. In her three terms as chief, employment doubled, infant mortality declined and educational achievement rose.

She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 and inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.

In comparison to a white man’s $10 in wages, A Native American woman earns $5.90.


Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias

Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias (1929 – 2001) was a pediatrician, educator and women’s rights advocate from Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez-Trias spent most of her career in New York working with sexually abused children and those threatened by AIDS & HIV. She was an outspoken advocate for improved maternal and family health care and women’s reproductive rights.

She was a founding member of the Women’s Caucus of the American Public Health Association, the first Latina to serve as president of the American Public Health Association, and was awarded the Presidential Citizen’s Medal by former President Bill Clinton for her work on behalf of women, children, people with HIV & AIDs and low-income communities.

The differences in wages are most stark between Hispanic Latinas and white men by a comparison of $5.40 and $10.


This is by no means a comprehensive list. Share your suggestions for women to be featured on the $10 dollar bill by using the hashtag #TheNew10.

The announcement for #TheNew10 shows progress in our government to recognize the contributions of American women. A true sign of support for women’s contributions would be to ensure her work matches her wages, that the same work is being paid the same wage regardless of race or gender.


Olivia Chow

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