New Stamps and Postcards Celebrate Women’s Rights

02/03/2011

New Stamps and Postcards Celebrate Women’s Rights

An Post and The National Women’s Council of Ireland are joining forces to celebrate the Centenary of International Women’s Day on March 8th with the issue of two new stamps and a series of specially commissioned postcards, all unveiled at the GPO today.

Women’s Rights is the overall theme for the new stamps by renowned Irish designer Ger Garland celebrating International Women’s Day and the founding of the Irish Women’s Suffrage Federation by Louie Bennett in 1911.  A 55c stamp is designed in the style of the suffrage handbills of the early 20th century while a powerful purple presentation of the female symbol adorns an 82c stamp.

Ms Garland was also involved in the design of the postcards for the National Women’s Council of Ireland.  These feature evocative historical photographs from the collection of the National Library of Ireland depicting Irish women workers at the turn of the 20th century.  The cards feature quotes from Alice Milligan and other women involved in the Irish cultural revival selected by Catherine Morris, cultural co-ordinator at Trinity College and the NLI. “Between 12 and 2 next Tuesday, at an event at the Alice Milligan exhibition at the NLI, we will have wonderful women like Alice Maher, the artist Lynne Parker, and professor of history, Jane Ohlmeyer, giving their personal reflections on the cards,” said Morris.

The cards will be used as invitations to this and other International Women’s Day events, and posted out with the new stamps, with a special first day of issue franking.  “These beautiful cards and stamps will become collectors’ items for future generations of feminists, reminding them of the work women have done in and for this country,” said Susan McKay, chief executive of the NWCI.  “We are delighted to partner An Post in this centenary of International Women’s Day.”

“We expect very strong interest in these stamps from all quarters, nationally and internationally, said An Post’s Head of Communications, Anna McHugh.  “Those who strove and suffered to further the rights of women, also succeeded in improving the living and working conditions of the wider community.  These stamps are a fitting tribute to those pioneering women of past centuries as well as those who continue that work today,” she added.

From the late 19th century onwards, women in Ireland and throughout Europe became increasingly vocal about their oppression and inequality at home, in the workforce and in elections.  In 1911, the first International Women’s Day was marked in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland and the Irish Women’s Suffrage League, an umbrella organisation for numerous groups working for women’s rights was founded by Louie Bennett.   The right to vote was introduced in 1922 though the rights demanded by women went well beyond simple enfranchisement.  “That struggle for equality for women still goes on,” said McKay. “But in these gloomy economic times, the Women’s Council has decided to mark International Women’s Day with celebrations, finishing off the evening with a Humourous Feminists Night Out.”

The new stamps together with a special First Day Cover envelope may be viewed and purchased at www.irishstamps.ie , at the Irish Stamps Shop, GPO Dublin and main post offices.   

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