Women to Note

September 27, 2019
ON THE MONEY A smartphone user puts activist Rosa Parks on a dollar bill using the Notable Women app.
STEPHEN BLUE FOR TIME FOR KIDS

George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin. These are some of the historic American men who appear on United States paper currency. But where are the women?

“Thousands of women have been overlooked in history,” Rosie Rios told TIME for Kids. Rios served as the 43rd treasurer of the United States. She wants to see more women on U.S. money. That’s why she recently helped launch a website and an app called Notable Women. The app uses AR, or augmented reality. It superimposes portraits of 100 historic American women on paper money.

ROLE MODEL Former U.S. treasurer Rosie Rios has helped launch a website and an app to honor women’s role in American history.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY

Rios worked with Google Creative Lab to design the app. It includes portraits of women who have contributed to American life. One of them is Clara Barton. She founded the American Red Cross, in 1881. Another is Patsy Takemoto Mink. She became the first Asian-American congresswoman, in 1965.

How does the app work? Students point a smartphone camera at a U.S. bill. Then they can watch as the portrait on the bill turns into a female history-maker. By tapping on the new portrait, users can read about the featured woman. “Why wait until the federal government puts women on currency?” Rios says. “Let’s be able to put these women on currency now.”

Righting History

Rios and the Google team made Notable Women to encourage classroom discussions about historic American women. Rios hopes students will be inspired by learning about them.

Ugo Iroh, 17, has tried the app. She goes to the High School for Environmental Studies, in New York City.

Which trailblazer featured in Notable Women inspires Ugo the most? “Madam C.J. Walker,” she says. Walker was an African-American entrepreneur. She was one of the first women in the U.S. to become a self-made millionaire. “She didn’t let anyone stop her from achieving her dreams,” Ugo says.