Millennials Want to See Women on Money to Feel Better About Being American

Inspiration

It’s all about the Benjamins, right? Well, maybe it shouldn’t be, according to a new survey that has the next generation looking for new faces on their cash.

Specifically, millennials want to see women on their money. A new survey released on Equal Pay Day (April 2, 2019) by Varo Money shows that nearly 65% of millennials want to replace all or some of the current faces on their bills with American female historical figures.

Women on Money RBG

More first ladies and American female heroes was their message. Sorry, Beyoncé, you did not make the list.

It makes sense for millennials to have their say in who goes on their cash because they spend a lot of it — more than $600 billion a year according to Accenture, a figure that’s expected to more than double to $1.4 trillion by 2020.

Then again, almost 10% of people responded that it doesn’t matter to them whose face is on their bills because “I don’t use cash.”

More women, more national pride

But for more millennials, who is on their money is more about representation than it is the cash itself. While female faces on their money draws support from both men and women, neither group said it would make them feel better about their money or themselves.

It would, however, give them more national pride every time they opened their wallets. 

More than half of millennials surveyed said putting women on money would make them feel better about being an American. Support for female faces was higher among women — nearly 65%.

The 2016 Obama-era promise to replace Andrew Jackson with abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill still has support with more than half of millennials surveyed. Tubman, who escaped slavery and then helped hundreds of other slaves flee their captors, would be the first black American on U.S. currency.

Women on Money Tubman

She’s also the favorite to replace Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill if Jackson keeps his spot.

Inaugural First Lady Martha Washington already holds the designation of being the first woman on U.S. paper currency. She graced the $1 silver certificate from 1886 to 1957.

The survey support is a big win for Tubman, seeing as how it’s been more than a year since current Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has spoken publicly about the 2016 initiative to put her face on the $20 and the more than 28% of survey respondents who said they “didn’t know this was a thing.”

Who else made the list of currency favorites? Millennials’ top choices to replace the old guard on U.S. currency include several former first ladies, trailblazers and revered historical figures (and a TV talk show host).

Drum roll, please

The top 6 choices are:

  1. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman: 59%
  2. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt: 48%  
  3. Explorer Amelia Earhart: 42%
  4. First Lady Michelle Obama: 31%
  5. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 27%
  6. TV host and publisher Oprah Winfrey 18%

First Lady Laura Bush, Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani, Astronaut Sally Ride, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, First Lady Abigail Adams, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres all pulled in respectable double-digit support.

To see all the bills and weigh in with your thoughts, check out Varo’s Instagram.

Nope

There are also some notable women that millennials do not want on their money. When asked who they never wanted to see on their cash, there was a resounding “No thank you” to Cardi B, Hillary Clinton, Melania Trump, and Beyoncé.

But what about Oprah Winfrey? The media mogul is revered among women and even garnered some support for making a run for president in 2020.

Turns out millennials may not have made up their minds about her yet. More than 18% of women respondents said they’d like to see her on their money. But nearly 15% say they never want to see her on their cash.

Sarah Netter is a freelance writer living in New Orleans.