The U.S. plans to feature a woman on its currency notes for the first time since Martha Washington adorned silver certificates more than a century ago, the Treasury Department said.
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and his advisers will solicit public comment at town hall meetings and other events in coming months about the planned redesign of the $10 bill and announce the selection later this year, the department said in Washington.
Candidates should be a woman "who was a champion for our inclusive democracy," the Treasury said in a statement.
"It's time for a woman to be back on our paper currency," Lew said in an interview with CBS Thursday morning. Martha Washington was the first and last woman whose portrait appeared on U.S. paper currency, having appeared on the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886, 1891 and 1896, according to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing website.
"I have a bunch of candidates, but I'm going to actually withhold my judgment until I hear from a number of more people," Lew said in the interview.
The Treasury and Bureau of Engraving and Printing will unveil the new $10 bill in 2020, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that extended voting rights to women, Lew told reporters Wednesday.
Individuals can submit comments on a website at thenew10.treasury.gov and on social media using #TheNew10 hashtag, the Treasury said.
By law, only dead people can be featured on U.S. currency notes, Lew said. After surveying the public, he gets to make the final decision.
The $10 bill is the third least-circulated among the seven major denominations, accounting for 5.2 percent of 36.4 billion notes in use at the end of last year.
The bill currently features a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the U.S. and the first Treasury secretary. Hamilton will remain on the newly redesigned $10 notes, and options include having two images on the new bill or separate bills showing Hamilton and a woman, Lew said.
"The principle consideration is security," he said.