If the American people had a vote in picking a woman to put on the redesigned $10 bill, they would choose Eleanor Roosevelt, the nation’s longest-serving first lady who pushed for greater rights for women, blacks and Asians.
Nearly one in three registered voters chose Roosevelt, who has been called one of the most admired people of the 20th century, over a host of other women who played significant roles in United States history, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.
Abolitionist Harriet Tubman was second with 20 percent of voters, followed by Native American guide Sacagawea, pilot Amelia Earhart and suffragette Susan B. Anthony, who each received 11 percent. Just 4 percent chose Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female justice of the Supreme Court.
“They had a lot to do with building this country, as much as the men did. And still do,” said David Tedder, 62, of Douglasville, Ga.
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The Obama administration announced in June that a woman will appear on the new $10 bill, marking the first time in more than a century that a female face will grace paper currency in the United States. Former first lady Martha Washington and Native American Pocahontas both had a place on bills in the 1800s, while Anthony and Sacagawea briefly adorned the $1 coin.
Genevieve Payne, 62, a retiree who lives in Springfield, Mo., said she doesn’t see the need to change the money.
“It costs millions and millions of dollars,” she said. “I don’t see the need to spend the money. The economy is in such a bad position. It’s so trivial.”
The Treasury Department launched a public campaign to seek suggestions with a requirement that the woman be deceased. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is expected to make a decision later this year. The redesigned bill will be unveiled in 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote.
Fifteen percent of those polled did not like the six choices provided, preferred another woman or were unsure who they would pick.
The decision to add a woman to the $10 bill came after a campaign, “Women on 20s,” called for overhauling the $20 bill by replacing former President Andrew Jackson with a female face. Tubman came out on top of a list of 15 women after more than 600,000 people voted in an online poll. The $20 bill is not being changed.