The American Women Quarters Program is a four-year program that celebrates the accomplishments and contributions made by women of the United States. Beginning in 2022, and continuing through 2025, the U.S. Mint will issue up to five new reverse designs each year. The obverse of each coin will maintain a likeness of George Washington, but is different from the design used during the previous quarter program.
The American Women Quarters may feature 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.
The American Women Quarters Program is authorized by the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-330).
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American Women Quarters
The pioneering American women celebrated on the quarters are listed below in the order the quarters will be released.
- Maya Angelou – celebrated writer, performer, and social activist
- Dr. Sally Ride – physicist, astronaut, educator, and first American woman in space
- Wilma Mankiller – first woman elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation
- Nina Otero-Warren – suffrage leader and the first woman superintendent of Santa Fe public schools
- Anna May Wong – first Chinese American film star in Hollywood
- Bessie Coleman – first African American and first Native American woman pilot
- Edith Kanakaʻole – indigenous Hawaiian composer, custodian of native culture and traditions
- Eleanor Roosevelt – first lady, author, and civil liberties advocate
- Jovita Idar – Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist
- Maria Tallchief – America’s first prima ballerina
- Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray – poet, writer, activist, lawyer, and Episcopal priest
- Patsy Takemoto Mink – first woman of color to serve in Congress
- Dr. Mary Edwards Walker – Civil War surgeon, women’s rights advocate, and abolitionist
- Celia Cruz – Cuban-American singer, cultural icon, and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century
- Zitkala-Ša – writer, composer, educator, and political activist
The obverse of each American Women Quarters coin will feature a portrait of George Washington facing right, originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser. It was the recommended design for the 1932 quarter to mark Washington’s 200th birthday, but then-Treasury Secretary Mellon ultimately selected the left-facing John Flanagan design.
Laura Gardin Fraser was one of the most prolific women sculptors of the early 20th century. She designed the Alabama Centennial Half Dollar in 1921, becoming the first woman to design a U.S. coin. The Mint used her George Washington design on a 1999 gold commemorative coin marking the 200th anniversary of Washington’s death.
Design Selection Process
The Secretary of the Treasury selects the honorees following consultation with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative, the National Women’s History Museum, and the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus. In 2021, the public was invited to submit recommendations for potential honorees through a web portal established by the National Women’s History Museum.
Step One – Appoint Liaisons
The United States Mint (Mint) will initiate the design process by contacting the appropriate officials within the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative (SIWHI) and the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) (hereafter referred to as “legislated consultants”) to appoint one or more individuals to serve as the liaisons to the Mint for this coin program.
Step Two – Develop Design Concept Pool
In consultation with our legislated consultants, as well as representatives from other federal institutions they recommend, such as the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Gallery of Art, the Mint will develop a pool of design concepts that celebrate the important accomplishments and contributions made by women of the United States to the development and history of our country. The pool of concepts will be developed in part based on the solicitation of recommendations from the general public and in consultation with the Bipartisan Women’s Caucus. The pool of concepts should represent a wide spectrum of accomplishments and fields that include, but are not limited to, suffrage, civil rights, the abolitionist movement, government, science, space and arts, and should honor women from ethnically and geographically diverse backgrounds. The Mint will produce each concept in title or narrative format and will work with the legislated consultants and other subject matter experts to verify the concept pool as accurate and appropriate.
Step Three – Formal Concept Recommendation & Secretarial Approval
In further consultation with the legislated consultants and appropriate subject matter experts, and in consultation with members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), the Mint will develop formal concept recommendations using the pool of recommended design concepts established in Step Two. The recommendations may include the individual women to be honored for a single year or multiple years of the program, the number of quarter designs to be featured on quarters in each year of the program, any suggested groupings of design concepts, and the order of design concepts. The Director of the United States Mint will submit the formal concept recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury (Secretary) for approval.
Step Four – Design Production
Upon Secretarial approval of the formal concept recommendations, the Mint will proceed to produce original quarter designs, focusing on aesthetic beauty, historical accuracy, appropriateness, and coinability. The Mint will collaborate with its legislated consultants and other subject matter experts as appropriate to ensure historical accuracy and proper representation with respect to candidate designs.
Step Five – Candidate Design Review
The Mint will present candidate designs, along with comments or recommendations from the legislated consultants, to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) for comment, and to the CCAC for review. The Mint will consider all comments and recommendations, and modify the candidate designs as appropriate.
Step Six – Final Selection
The Mint will present final candidate designs, along with recommendations from all stakeholders, to the Secretary for final design selection.
Learn more about the American Women Quarters Program through this educational video on the U.S. Mint’s YouTube.