From the New York Times:
So the $10 note became the vehicle for an administration eager to make a historic statement about women before President Obama leaves office. Despite the complaints, officials say, they cannot switch bills.
Yet they might have better anticipated the blowback, critics say.
Even before Mr. Lew announced last summer that a woman would be on the $10 bill, a group called Women On 20s inspired Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, and others in Congress to introduce legislation calling for a woman’s portrait on the 20. The National Organization for Women got behind the campaign, according to Terry O’Neill, president of the group.
Barbara Ortiz Howard, the founder of Women On 20s, was at Mr. Lew’s announcement last June. “They were all excited with their plan, and we had some cautions,” she said. “We thought there might be some issues with it — like the fact that it’s not the 20.”
The $20 bill is more numerous by far than the $10 note, and the common currency of the ubiquitous A.T.M. For a woman to be put on the $10 note instead suggests women are of lesser worth, some people complained. Though several of those critics said wryly that the lesser note would aptly symbolize that women still earn less than men on average.