It's a 'Huge Milestone' for US Currency

New banknotes are the first to be signed by 2 women
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 9, 2022 4:25 AM CST
These Are the First US Banknotes Signed by 2 Women
Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, left, and Treasurer of the United States Chief Lynn Malerba display money they autographed during a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday helped mark a milestone in US history when she held up a newly minted $5 bill signed for the first time ever by two women. Yellen's signature will appear alongside that of US Treasurer Lynn Malerba, the first Native American in that position, the AP reports. Yellen joked during a stop in Texas about the bad handwriting of some of her male predecessors and said, "I will admit, I spent some quality time practicing my signature." "Two women on the currency for the first time is truly momentous," added Malerba, who traveled with Yellen to a Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility in Fort Worth to provide their signatures.

They ceremonially signed fresh sheets of bills in $1 and $5 denominations and posed with samples to mark the history-making moment. The new notes will go into circulation next year. Anusha Chari, an economist who chairs the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession, calls Yellen’s signature on US currency "a huge milestone, but it also shows us how far we have to go." The Treasury Department was created in 1789, and until Yellen only white men had led it.

Yellen made her reputation as a stoic chair of the Federal Reserve and a shrewd forecaster, and now is at the forefront of far-flung efforts to use economic levers to help stop Russia’s war in Ukraine, employ tax policy to protect the planet from climate change, and oversee a massive effort to strengthen the beleaguered IRS. Even as Yellen watched the fresh bills carrying her signature roll out at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Western currency facility, her remarks focused on Biden administration policy accomplishments rather than her status as the first woman to serve as treasury secretary. On the Ukraine conflict, she said, ”Together with over 30 countries, we have denied Russia revenue and resources it needs to fight its war."

(Read more US currency stories.)

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