Stamp collecting has long been a male dominated pastime.
Sure, there were a few women who blazed the trail. If you know the story behind the inverted Jenny (#C3a), you probably know who Ethel McCoy is and the theft of her block/4. Barbara Mueller is another name that quickly comes to mind. Louise Boyd Dale was the daughter of famous philatelist, Alfred F. Lichtenstein. She took over her fatherís collections and further expanded them, becoming a world renowned philatelist along the way.
Iím sure there are others who are not coming to mind at this time. My point is that there were very few women involved in the hobby prior to, say, the 1980s.
Janet Klug is past President of the American Philatelic Society. She currently serves on the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee. Cheryl Ganz retired as Chief Curator of the National Postal Museum.
I donít know why there have been so few women in philately.
Years ago, I think many stamp clubs were viewed as fraternal organizations. It may not have been a written rule, but it was certainly implied that women need not apply. A few women were able to break down those barriers, but it was very few.
It wasnít until 1920 when the 19th amendment was passed giving women the right to vote.
Thankfully, a lot of that old fashioned thinking is in the past. I belong to the Philatelic Society of Pittsburgh and I can attest that we have several female members of the club. All members, male or female, are welcomed equally.
I sincerely hope that the hobby benefits from even more involvement by women entering the hobby. It is a trend that has picked up pace in the last 30-40 years. However, even today, women are definitely in the minority when you consider the total number of collectors. I donít have the answers on how we attract more women into the hobby. But I hope itís a trend that picks up speed. The hobby will benefit from having more collectors involved, both male and female.