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Group wants to put a woman on the $20 bill

Several women with Pa. and N.J. ties considered

If the Women on $20s group has its way, Americans will one day pay for items with a bill that depicts a notable female figure from the nation's history.

The group has launched a campaign to get Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill and replace him with a woman.

The effort comes in advance of 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

And why the $20? Andrew Jackson, the country's seventh president, doesn't deserve to stay on the bills because of his role in the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and because he opposed the central banking system and paper currency, the Women on $20s' website says.

"We believe this simple, symbolic and long-overdue change could be an important stepping stone for other initiatives promoting gender equality," the group's website says. "Our money does say something about us, about what we value. So together, let's make our money egalitarian and inclusive!"

So who should replace Jackson? A number of women with ties to Pennsylvania and New Jersey are at the top of the nonprofit's list:

  1. Alice Paul: The Mount Laurel, N.J., native and descendent of William Penn was a leading advocate for the 19th Amendment, organized massive marches, and led the National Women's Party, where she pushed for an equal-rights amendment. Her former home, Paulsdale, is a National Historic Landmark.

  2. Clara Barton: The nurse is most known for her battlefield medical care during the Civil War and founding the American Red Cross, but she also opened New Jersey's first free public school in Bordentown, Burlington County.

  3. Frances Perkins: The former labor secretary -- the first woman to serve in a president's cabinet and a champion of social welfare efforts that included unemployment benefits, pensions, minimum wages and overtime pay -- studied at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton school in 1918 and 1919.

  4. Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The advocate for women's suffrage and equal rights who convened the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention lived in Tenafly, Bergen County from 1868 to 1887, where her former home is a National Historic Landmark.

  5. Susan B. Anthony: The abolition and suffrage movement leader briefly studied at a Quaker boarding school in Philadelphia.

  6. Rachel Carson: The writer and zoologist whose work prompted the environmental movement, the banning of DDT and the creation of the Environmental Protection agency was born in Springdale, Pa., near Pittsburgh.

The organization has compiled a ballot of those women, along with nine others: Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, Soujourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Barbara Jordan, Margaret Sanger, Patsy Mink, Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt.

People are asked to vote for their top three choices, and the top three vote-getters will move on to a final round of voting.

The nonprofit says it hopes to get at least 100,000 votes, writing on the site that that's "how many names it takes to petition the White House for executive action."

Portraits on currency haven't been changed since 1929. Federal law says only deceased individuals can appear on bills, but it's not known how the current subjects were chosen.

"Treasury Department records do not reveal the reason that portraits of these particular statesmen were chosen in preference to those of other persons of equal importance and prominence," the Bureau of Printing and Engraving says.