By Stephanie Meredith
December 2, 2021
In 2022, 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 accomplishments of American women. 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
Selecting Final Honorees
The SAWHI and NWHM recommend women to be included in the program. The Mint then shares these recommendations with the Congressional Bipartisan Women’s Caucus, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC), and other subject matter experts for comment. The Mint may go back to the stakeholders with the feedback, who may then change the recommendations.
The Mint sends the final recommended honorees to the Secretary of the Treasury for approval.
2022 American Women Quarters
The 2022 quarters will honor:
- 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 – a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first woman to be superintendent of Santa Fe public schools
- Anna May Wong – first Chinese American film star in Hollywood
These honorees were chosen before the public portal opened to allow time to approve the designs. The Mint worked with stakeholders including the SAWHI and NWHM to select these honorees. The Secretary of the Treasury approved the five names in the first half of 2021 so that Mint artists could produce designs for review and selection in time to start striking the coins for circulation.
Look out for these new quarters throughout 2022. The Mint will send the Maya Angelou Quarter to the Federal Reserve for distribution to the public in January, followed by the others over the rest of the year. Visit the product schedule for information about products featuring these quarters.
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