Unveiling of the Stamp honoring the Women’s Rights Movement

Nov 3, 1999
Press Release

It is the day after Election Day, and it is very fitting that today we are unveiling a stamp that the American public VOTED for.

I am honored to join my friend Sue Kelly and my colleagues in the Women’s Caucus in welcoming the Postal Service to unveil a stamp honoring the Women’s Rights Movement as part of its 1970s edition of the Celebrate the Century program.womensstampsmall.jpg

In 1970, there were only 10 women Members of the House. Today, there are 58.

In 1970, there was only 1 woman Senator. Today, there are 9.

In 1970, there were no women justices on the Supreme Court. Today, there are 2.

In 1970, there were no women Members of the Cabinet. Today, there are 4.

In 1970, women were only 3 percent of the military. Today, women are 14 percent.

And in 1970, there were NO women admirals or generals. Today, there are 20.

In 1970, no American women had been in space. Today, not only have they been in space, but this year, we saw the first woman commander of a space shuttle.

1970 was well before passage of the Women’s Educational Equity Act, Title IX, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Title VII, and the Violence Against Women Act.

The "Women's Rights Movement" of the 1970s – was fundamental to all those changes that came later. And the women’s rights leaders – Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm. Ellie Smeal, Dorothy Height, Bella Abzug, Liz Holtzman, Patsy Mink, Patricia Schroeder – were trailblazers in their own right.

Indeed, this is an historic day. And it has been a long time coming.

A few years ago, I received a letter which said, in part, "When I was a little girl, my daddy had a huge stamp collection... He wanted to give me some stamps to start a collection of my own. I told him I’d like to start a collection of stamps that had women on them, but when I went through his whole collection there were SO FEW with women on them – and I even counted the Statue of Liberty – it just wasn’t worth it – the stamps on women couldn’t even fill up one page of a collection book."

As many of you know, I have been advocating for a stamp to honor women for several years.

Over the years, there have been a few stamps of interest to women: homemakers, Women in the Military, women as letter carriers, Marilyn Monroe, seamstresses.
I have always maintained that the Women’s Rights Movement IS educational,
historically important, and of widespread appeal.

For the first time ever, the Postal Service has allowed THE PUBLIC to choose stamps to represent each of the decades.

Today, women are being honored because THE PEOPLE VOTED, and "the Women’s Rights Movement" was triumphant!

For the 1920s, along with Babe Ruth, Lindbergh, and Electric Trains, we honored WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE.

For the 1970s, the Women’s Rights Movement got the 285,217 votes -- more than All in the Family, more than Secretariat, and more than 1970s fashion.

It beat out VCRs, The Godfather, and Photo Realism.

Stamps are about history. And many children LEARN about history by collecting stamps.

In 1999, children will learn about the women’s rights movement.

It is an historic day, and I thank the Postal Service for giving the women’s movement a STAMP of APPROVAL