(background); The United States Mint (coin); Patrick Fraser/Corbis via Getty Images (Angelou); Alamy Stock Photo (Ride); Glasshouse Images/Alamy Stock Photo (Wong); Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images (Mankiller); Science History Images/Alamy Stock Photo (Otero-Warren); The United States Mint (coin)

Change Makers

The next time you get your hands on some spare change, take a close look at the coins. You might be holding a special new quarter! Starting this month, the U.S. Mint—the government agency in charge of making coins—will release five new quarters each year. It’s all part of the American Women Quarters program. Each coin will feature the image of an important female trailblazer on the back.

“Women have made countless contributions throughout our nation’s history,” explains Tracy Scelzo Chavez. She works at the Mint. “This is a unique way to honor them on coins that will be used by millions of Americans every day.”

This isn’t the first time women have been featured on U.S. coins. For example, women’s rights leader Susan B. Anthony and Native American explorer Sacajawea have appeared on dollar coins. The new program plans to celebrate many more women. The Mint will roll out a set of five new coins every year until 2025. The first will feature author Maya Angelou.

How were the first five women (see below) chosen? The public submitted more than 11,000 suggestions to the Mint. It was up to the official who oversees the Mint to make the final decision. That’s Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, the first woman in U.S. history to hold that job.

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