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Janet Yellen becomes first female Treasury secretary to sign U.S. currency

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Thursday became the first female Treasury secretary to sign America's currency. New bills bearing her signature and that of Treasurer Lynn Malerba were printed and will begin circulating in 2023. It's the first time two women's signatures have appeared on U.S. bank notes. Photo by Al Drago/UPI
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Thursday became the first female Treasury secretary to sign America's currency. New bills bearing her signature and that of Treasurer Lynn Malerba were printed and will begin circulating in 2023. It's the first time two women's signatures have appeared on U.S. bank notes. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's signature is finally on U.S. currency as bank notes bearing her name were printed Thursday. History was made as the new currency also carried the signature of Treasurer Lynn Malerba, the first time America's money has been signed by two women.

"Today is not about me or a new signature on our currency," Yellen said at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Fort Worth, Texas. "It's about our collective work to create a stronger and more inclusive economy."

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Malerba is the first Native American woman to have her signature on U.S. currency. The bills carrying both women's signatures will begin circulating next year.

It took so long for Yellen's signature to grace America's money because a new treasurer had to be named first.

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While Yellen is the first woman to sign currency as Treasury secretary, several women treasurers' signatures have appeared, beginning with Georgia Neese, the first female treasurer who held the office during the Truman administration.

In remarks Thursday in Texas, Yellen said economics has long been dominated by men in the United States.

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"When I was at the start of my academic career, women made up only 6% of faculty in economic departments surveyed by the American Economic Association," Yellen said in prepared remarks delivered at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Fort Worth. "And this was back in the early 1970s. Women who came before me -- and even more so for those in less forgiving professions -- experienced much worse."

Yellen said today women represent around 62% of the U.S. Treasury workforce.

Yellen said Thursday that the Treasury Department will create a $20 bill replacing former President Andrew Jackson's face with a portrait of Harriet Tubman.

"Money also has a deeper social purpose," Yellen said. "Because currency is something we use and we touch every day and, when done right, it can tell us who we are, what we value and what is possible."

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