Woman may not get top billing on U.S. currency

A female will be included in U.S. currency, but whichever historic figure is chosen won't necessarily be on the $10 bill -- and she may not even be on the front.

"We're going to tell the story of American democracy, as we unveil the new series of bills," Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew told CBS News on Tuesday. "And women will be a prominent part of that."

The $10 bill has dominated the discussion because it's the next bill that needs to be updated for anti-counterfeiting purposes, but the Treasury has "multiple bills that are going to be redesigned," Lew said. "We'll be revising the $5 bill, the $20 bill."

More than a million people have weighed in with their thoughts since the Treasury Department over the summer posed the idea of a redesigned $10 bill and strongly signaled that a woman would be selected.

"Very few people know what's on the back of any of our bills. And I think part of the challenge we have is to think more than about one square inch of the bill and think about the bill more generally to tell the story," said Lew, who added he would be making a decision by the end of the year.

The effort to get a woman on paper currency stirred up a hornet's nest of Federalist fervor, with critics -- including former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke -- objecting to the Treasury selecting Alexander Hamilton to share his $10 with an as-yet-to-be-picked woman.

Bernanke and others argue that if anyone should be bumped from U.S. currency or have to share the space, it should be President Andrew Jackson, who engineered what many view as the genocide of Native American tribes and, ironically, opposed paper money.