(Washington, D.C.) – The U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, the federally appointed body tasked with planning and executing the commemoration of America’s 250th anniversary, is proud to announce that Commissioner Rosie Rios was recognized as one of USA TODAY’s Women of the Century. Rosie is a passionate advocate for women’s rights and empowering the next generation of female leaders through her work on the Commission as well as the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (Women’s Vote 100).
Rosa “Rosie” Gumataotao Rios was the 43rd Treasurer of the United States, and is most well-known for her fight to make a portrait of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Rios began working in the U.S. Treasury as a member of the Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team in 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis. She stepped down in 2016, making her the longest serving Senate-confirmed U.S. Department of the Treasury official. That year, Rios received the Hamilton Award, the highest honor bestowed in the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
After resigning from her Treasury position, Rios founded an organization called Empowerment 2020, which she launched at the Radcliffe Institute, her alma mater, while working as a Visiting Professor. The organization’s first project, “Teachers Righting History,” gives teachers and students the resources to learn about historical American women. It includes a database of 250 American women – including Alice Coachman, the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal and Henrietta Swan Leavitt, a pioneering astronomer – named during a public outreach campaign to decide which American woman’s portrait should be put on the $20 bill.
Rios was selected as part of the Maryland list of the the Women of the Century. Click here to read an article about the Maryland list on the USA TODAY web site.