Among the great Americans that have been featured on various forms of currency, few of them so far have been women. At the time of the founding of the US there were no women in office, no women signed the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, and women weren’t even allowed to vote yet. Because of this it wasn’t until 1978 that the first woman made it onto a coin with the Susan B. Anthony one dollar coin. Now, after a planning phase following the passing of Public Law 116-330 (otherwise known as the “Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020”), 5 pioneering women from all types of careers will be featured on quarters.

The 2022 quarters will feature:

  • Poet and playwright, Maya Angelou (1928-2014)
  • Astronaut and first American woman in space, Sally Ride (1951-2012)
  • First female Cherokee Chief, Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010)
  • Suffragist and first Latina to run for Congress, Nina Otero-Warren (1881-1965)
  • First female Asian American Hollywood Actress, Anna May Wong (1905-1961)
Maya Angelou quarter
Maya Angelou quarter. Via: US Mint

The first of the coins to be released is the Maya Angelou coin, which entered circulation on January 10, 2022. The image of an eagle is shown behind a young Angelou with outstretched arms, a reference to both her autobiographical book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and the emblem of the United States, the bald eagle.

Sally Ride quarter
Sally Ride quarter. Via: US Mint

The Sally Ride quarter features a portrait image of Ride with a long-view of planet Earth in the background in honor of her historic space mission aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983. She was the first American woman to travel into space. Only 2 other women made it into space before Ride, both from the USSR.

Wilma Mankiller quarter
Wilma Mankiller quarter. Via: US Mint

Wilma Mankiller was the first woman to be nominated in 1983 for the elected tribal position of Deputy Chief alongside Ross Swimmer. When he resigned in 1985 she became the first female Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation, a position she held until 1995.

Nina Otero Warren quarter
Nina Otero Warren quarter. Via: US Mint

The Nina Otero-Warren quarter features the phrase “Voto Para La Mujer” (“Votes for women”) and 3 yucca flowers in honor of her home state of New Mexico where she served as the director of her state’s Civilian Conservation Corps and became the first Latina to run for Congress.

Anna Mae Wong quarter
Via: US Mint

The Anna May Wong quarter features a striking image of Wong modeled after a publicity photo taken of her in the 1930s showing her trademark blunt bangs and long fingernails. She is surrounded by marquee lights as found at theaters in honor of her work as the first female Asian American movie star and the first Chinese American lead on TV.

Each of the 2022 designs for the American Women Quarter Program feature the new honorees on the reverse and the famous profile of first US President George Washington on the obverse. As outlined in the legislative bill the women considered must have given “contributions to the United States in a wide spectrum of accomplishments and fields, including but not limited to suffrage, civil rights, abolition, government, humanities, science, space, and arts…”

Between 2022 and 2025 5 new quarters featuring trailblazing American women will be released each year. The honorees for 2023, 2024, and 2025 have not yet been selected.