The Mints American Women Quarters program represents a more comprehensive effort to celebrate pioneering women and their accomplishments.
By 2025, Mint will issue five coins annually, each with a reverse design. The Secretary of the Treasury selected the dignitaries after discussions with congressional bipartisan women’s caucuses, the National Women’s History Museum and the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative, Mint said.
Sally Ride, the first American woman in space this quarter; Wilma Mankiller, a Native American activist; Nina Otero-Warren, a leader in the New Mexico suffrage movement; Anna Me Wong, the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood; And Maya Angelo, poet and writer.
Women have traditionally been under-represented in American currency.
In 1979, Susan B. Anthony was the first woman to appear in a circulating U.S. currency. Since then, other women have been featured occasionally. From 2000 to 2008, the Mint issued a gold dollar coin depicting Sakagawe, a Shoshon woman who led Lewis and Clark across the North Great Plains, with a baby hanging on her back.
The design of the coin for the present honorees is not the same as that of the previously issued quarters. Mrs. Angelo is shown raising her arms, the rays of the sun above her, the echo of a flying bird. Ms. Wong’s quarters zoomed in on his face, resting his manicured hands. Ms. Otero-Warren’s coin contains the words “VOTO PARA LA MUJER”, a Spanish translation of the voting slogan “Vote for Women”.
Mint’s acting director Alison L. Dunn said in a statement that the coin designs “tell the story of five extraordinary women whose contributions are incredibly engraved in American culture.”
“Future generations will see the coins that carry these designs,” he said, “and will be reminded of what can be done with vision, determination and a desire to improve opportunities for all.”