The following is an excerpt from an article by Stephanie Meredith on the website of the United States Mint.
Next year, the U.S. Mint will release circulating quarters honoring Maya Angelou, Dr. Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Nina Otero-Warren, and Anna May Wong. The new American Women Quarters Program is a four-year series celebrating the contributions American women have made to this country. Starting in 2022 and continuing through 2025, the Mint will release up to five quarters each year honoring a different woman. The Mint selects these honorees through a process specified in the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-330).
From March through June 2021, the National Women’s History Museum website hosted a web portal allowing members of the public to submit names of women they’d like to see honored on quarters. The portal received more than 11,000 submissions in the short time it was open.
Those recommendations form the bulk of the pool the Mint and stakeholders draw from when considering potential honorees for the American Women Quarters Program. Some names may also come from the stakeholders themselves. The stakeholders are the:
- Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative (SAWHI)
- National Women’s History Museum (NWHM)
- Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus
Narrowing Down Honorees
The next step is to narrow down the list by verifying that the submissions meet the requirements in the law, and eliminating duplicate submissions. The Public Law says that the quarters may feature women with contributions from a variety of fields, including, but not limited to, suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and the arts. The women honored will be from ethnically, racially, and geographically diverse backgrounds.
Over the course of the American Women Quarters Program, the Mint will meet with the SAWHI and NWHM to decide on potential honorees. The women are evaluated on:
- How much of an impact their contribution made to our country
- The degree to which they have been under-recognized for their contribution
- The diversity in terms of the women’s achievements and their backgrounds