Friday, March 26, 2010

Finland issues Stamps Honoring Famous Women

On March 8, 2010, Itella, the Finish Post Office Corporation, will issue a booklet of six stamps featuring key female figures in Finland. The stamps represent the following Finnish women: Professor Elina Haavio-Mannila, Professor Laila Hirvisaari, Maria-Liisa Nevala the Director of the Finnish National Theatre, Academician Leena Palotie, the designer Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen, and the artist Aira Samulin. For the first time in Finland, an entire stamp set of today's key female figures has now been issued. By their own merits, they all have acquired influential positions in their respective fields, many of them even on an international level, says Kari Kivikoski, Chair of the Itella Stamp Committee. The designer of the stamps, Paivi Vainionpaa, has combined a silhouette image and the signature of each woman on the stamps, and also added a unique feature of these women: red heels, a theatrical mask or a quill. With this stamp booklet, Itella wants to honor Finnish women and their expertise in various fields. - After long and thorough contemplation, these six women were the ones to choose, but there were plenty of candidates, says Kivikoski. Stamp availability The stamps are sold at approximately 4,000 postal agency shops: postal outlets, kiosks, bookstores, grocery stores, and department stores. Stamp retailers can be identified by the sticker "stamps". A convenient way to acquire the stamps and have them delivered to your doorstep is to purchase them from the Posti online store at

Background information on the women featured on the stamps

Anna Elina Haavio-Mannila

Anna is a Finnish sociologist and Doctor of Social Sciences, currently retired. Haavio-Mannila worked as Lecturer in Sociology from 1965-1971, Associate Professor of Sociology in 1971-1992, and Professor of Sociology in 1992-1998 at the University of Helsinki. Haavio-Mannila still participates in several international, multidisciplinary research projects as a sociologist. Since 2004, she has been a member of a consortium including the University of Helsinki and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (Stakes), which consists of researchers from Russia and Estonia. The consortium is funded by the Academy of Finland and it studies reproductive health and different family models in Finland, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia. A new study was initiated in 2005, concentrating on the chain of generations. The study is closely related to the European SHARE project. The results of the study were published in 2009 as part of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland's (Kela), studies in social security and health "A chain of generations. Baby boomers and cross-generational interaction in Finland" ("Sukupolvien ketju - Suuret ikaluokat ja sukupolvien valinen vuorovaikutus Suomessa"). Haavio-Mannila continues her work in examining intergenerational informal assistance on an international level. She has considerable experience of interaction between four different generations, being a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. Haavio-Mannila is renowned for her studies examining equality between men and women, and Finnish sex life. She attracted great attention with her book "Suomalainen nainen ja mies" ("The Finnish woman and man") published in 1968 and the book co-written with Osmo Kontula "Suomalainen seksi" ("Finnish sex"), published in 1993. Over the years, Haavio-Mannila has given numerous interviews in the media, commenting on a variety of social issues. She has also written several books and articles that have been published in many languages.

Haavio-Mannila's view on her stamp

My stamp represents the direction in which the cooperation between men and women should be going. The status and income of men and women should be equal, thus resulting in a social circle game with equally alternating positions for men and women.

Maria-Liisa Nevala Celebrated and experienced theatre maker

Maria-Liisa Nevala has served as Director of the Finnish National Theatre since 1992. She finished her doctoral thesis and became Doctor of Philosophy in 1972 and worked as Associate Professor and Professor at the University of Helsinki during the years 1976-1991. She has studied and done research in Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States, and acted as Visiting Professor at the University of London. She has published several books on literature and culture as well as essays and reviews and translated many plays. She was also the person who chose the winner of the 1995 Finlandia Literary Prize. In 2009, she was awarded the Ida Aalberg medal for her excellent work in the Finnish theatre. She has been a member of the Theatre Academy Helsinki Board since 2006 and acted as Chairman of the Board since 2010.

Leena Palotie Renowned researcher deciphers the code of genes

Academician, Professor Leena Palotie is one of the most renowned and respected geneticists in the world. According to studies, she is probably the most well-known, among Finns, of today's Finnish researchers. Palotie popularizes gene research in the media and encourages the young to seek a career in research. She studies human molecular genetics, and disease genes and disease aetiology in particular. In her international publications she uses her maiden name Leena Peltonen, and in other connections the name Palotie. Professor Palotie currently works for the Wellcome Trust Sanger institute in Great Britain as Head of Human Genetics, in the institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM as Director, and in the National institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in Helsinki.

Laila Hirvisaari Dedicated author and a describer of Karelian culture

Laila Hirvisaari is a Finnish author known for her books portraying the region of Karelia. There are already over four million copies of her books printed. During the years 1958-2004 she wrote under the name Laila Hietamies. She was granted the title of Professor in 2002. The literary work of Hirvisaari began in 1972. Her first novel was "Lehmusten kaupunki" (City of Lindens) set in the City of Lappeenranta. The novel describes the life of a garrison town during peace and war from the 1930s onwards. Her literary production includes novel sequences, plays and television series often set in the Karelian isthmus and in Ladoga Karelia. Hirvisaari was born in Vyborg (then part of Finland) almost at the start of the Winter War in 1938. Early on, she did not pursue a career as a writer, although the chaos of war, losing her father and leaving home as an evacuee offered enough material for a lifetime of writing. According to Hirvisaari, she had something more valuable to foster besides the scribblings in her desk drawer three daughters. Hirvisaari notes that writing is about eternal excitement; it is not a mere profession, but has become a lifestyle. "You cannot cope with it unless you love it, appreciate your work, and devote yourself to writing."

Hirvisaari's view on her stamp:

When I heard about this stamp idea, l felt great joy that literature was to be recognized in this way. There are many Finnish female writers who deserve to have their own stamp. As the jury chose me, l will proudly represent all of my female colleagues. l am especially delighted with the quill that originated my stamp. It symbolizes history, writing, a letter, also this day.

Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen Advocate for Finnish arts-and-crafts and industrial know-how
Residing in the City of Kuopio in Eastern Finland, Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen is a designer who combines high-quality innovative artwork with industrial processability. Pohjalainen graduated as a clothing and textile designer from the School of Art and Design in 1974. She has been one of the leading fashion designers in Finland ever since. She has reformed the Finnish clothing industry by familiarizing herself with marketing and material production in different corners of the world. Ritva-Liisa Pohjalainen has actively shared her views on preserving and developing Finnish artsand-crafts and industrial know-how. She has taught fashion design in the School of Art and Design, had several exhibitions of her work in Finland as well as abroad, and she has received a variety of recognitions, such as the Kaj Franck Design Prize in 2004.

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Aira Samulin Colorful and original mover and shaker

Aira Samulin is a Finnish dance instructor, entrepreneur and advocate of physical activity. Samulin has lead her own dance school, among others, and worked as a "Script girl" for Suomen Filmiteollisuus Oy (Finnish Film Industry). Samulin founded a fashion dance school called "Rytmikkaat mannekiinit" ("Rhythmical mannequins"). During the years 1989-1996, she was a member of the Espoo City Council for the Finnish Centre Party, and in 1997 a member of the Helsinki City Council for Kokoomus (National Coalition Party). Since 2001, Samulin has been a deputy member of the Helsinki City Council. For eight years, she was a member of the Helsinki Week Foundation Board. Currently Samulin is a member of the Psychiatric Board of The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) and a deputy member of the Helsinki Theatre Foundation. She has also held a seat in the Environment Committee and Cultural Committee of Helsinki. The lifework of Aira Samulin has been celebrated in many ways. She has been awarded the Knight's Decoration of the Order of the Lion of Finland, National Mental Health Prize of the Finnish Association for Mental Health, and Viihteen elfiman tyopalkinto (Lifetime Achievement Award in Entertainment). She has promoted activities for the young and also been active in issues of national defense and the welfare of the aged. She was elected the Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998.Samulin is a great-grandmother and she has two great-grandchildren." width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Samulin's view on her stamp

The stamp is unique. it is stylish and just perfect for me. I especially love the colors.