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The Treasury was created in 1789, and until Janet Yellen, only white men had led it (Credit: Brookings Institution, Flickr).

The first U.S. banknotes featuring two women’s signatures are set to be unveiled Thursday at the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing site in Fort Worth, Texas.

The money will be printed with the signatures of U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and U.S. Treasury Chief Lynn Malerba, both of whom will be present at the unveiling. 

“I hope that today is a reminder of the road we’ve traveled on equity and inclusion,” Yellen said in remarks prepared for the event, according to Reuters. “And I hope it motivates us to continue to move forward.”

While U.S. banknotes are always signed by Treasury officials, this will be the first time in history that the signatures belong to two women. While Yellen is the first woman to head the Treasury and chair the U.S. Federal Reserve, Malerba is the first Native American to serve in her role as Treasury Chief.

During the Civil War, Yellen is expected to note, the Treasury led the first major effort to hire women into the federal government, with Jennie Douglas being the first woman hired and Sophia Holmes being the first Black woman hired. 

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While more work needs to be done, women currently make up 62% of the Treasury’s workforce today. 

“We’ve made progress in providing greater economic opportunity for women at Treasury and in the economics profession,” according to Yellen.

The Treasury was created in 1789, and until Yellen, only white men had led it. 

Yellen was the only woman in her doctorate program at Yale University in the early 1970s, and data shows that women still account for just 34% of PhDs in economics and 30% of professors in the field, according to Reuters.

Cecilia Rouse, the first Black woman to head the Council of Economic Advisers, told Reuters the new banknotes represent “that we are finally getting the insight from important parts of our economy and our society.”

The $1 and $5 bills featuring Yellen’s and Malerba’s signatures will be delivered to the Federal Reserve this month to enter circulation next year.

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