The purpose of Women Exhibitors (WE) is “to provide a vehicle through which women exhibitors can encourage each other through sharing information, ideas, experience, advice, problems and solutions.”
Many of our members enjoy each other’s company and WE’s focus on exploring exhibiting from a woman’s point of view, but have identified a problem: the lack of women in their= stamp clubs, societies, and philatelic circles. In 2019 WE focused on identifying solutions and began developing a plan to promote women in philately. One part of the plan included enhancing the visibility of women in philatelic literature.
As a lifelong woman philatelist, I strongly believe that in order to sustain our hobby it is imperative we promote diversity. One route is to ensure women and people of color are represented in our publications as authors, and in the topics represented.
As a 25-year plus member of the American Philatelic Society, I am thrilled that Thomas Loebig, Chief Content Officer, agreed to devote issues of The American Philatelist to this collaborative effort. The February 2020 AP commemorated Black History Month and included articles written by members of Women Exhibitors on the women of the Black Heritage Series.
In this Issue
The March 2020 issue is devoted to commemorating Women’s History Month. Every March since 1987, the United States has celebrated women’s contributions to society during Women’s History Month. In this issue are articles, written by members of Women Exhibitors, that highlight women who have made history, including Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. Additional articles focus on women seeking change, including Carol Gordon, known for raising awareness of social issues through artistic philatelic cachets.
The National Women’s History Alliance declared the 2020 Women’s History Month theme as “Valiant Women of the Vote,” in recognition of the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The theme honors “the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.” In future issues there will be articles by Women Exhibitors highlighting both the United States and the European women’s suffrage movements.
It is important to recognize women pioneers in our hobby as part of our effort to promote women in philately. The article on the history of Women Exhibitors highlights the founders and their vision.
In addition to those WE members who submitted articles for publication, I would like to thank Cheryl Ganz for proposing this project, her ongoing support regarding writing for publications, and prompt response to multiple inquiries for guidance. Ruth Caswell graciously volunteered to chair the committee to oversee the project, set deadlines for submissions, and provided editorial guidance as requested by authors before submission to the AP editorial team.
In our Wider Philatelic Community
Our women pioneers also need to be honored on a larger scale. In 2019, WE submitted a proposal to the APS Hall of Fame to induct Sophie Buser (1902–1997), who in 1933 founded the Women’s Philatelic Society of New York and, in 1938 founded the organization that today is the American Helvetia Philatelic Society.
Many of the exhibitions in 2020 have chosen a theme recognizing the centennial of the 19th Amendment. In addition to multi frame exhibits, WE members have submitted a club exhibit (15 one-page exhibits) commemorating women, to support the exhibitions and promote women in philately.
As the Facebook administrator for “WIPS: Women in Philately,” I post stamps on historically significant dates that commemorate women. I find there are stamps depicting women in the arts, and some in sports and literature, but far fewer in the sciences. Part of the WE plan to promote women in philately includes sending the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) suggestions of additional prominent women to be depicted. I appreciate the opportunity to share some aspects of the plan WE has implemented, and hope readers will be motivated to identify a plan to promote stamp collecting in their own communities.
I am filled with gratitude for the support of the American Philatelic Society leadership, including but not limited to President Robert Zeigler, Executive Director Scott English and Chief Content Officer Thomas Loebig.
Editor's Note: The column was published in the March 2020 issue of The American Philatelist. We are bringing the archives of The American Philatelist to the Newsroom - stay tuned for more columns and articles from 2020, and read the full March issue here.