Who was Beverly Wettenstein?
By Cirien Saadeh, JAWS Board Member
It is International Women’s Month and this year JAWS was given a donation from the estate of the late Beverly Wettenstein. As part of our work, and with gratitude to that donation, this month we want to take a moment and honor women journalists who have come before us. We’re beginning with Beverly Wettenstein herself.
Transparency Note: While the donation was from the estate of Beverly Wettenstein, JAWS was not asked to profile Beverly herself for this series of female journalists profiles.
Beverly Wettenstein was a New York City-based journalist and communications professional. In Aug. 2016 she urged people to “remember the ladies at Seneca Falls,” and so it felt fitting this month to spend time thinking about the women — and especially women from underserved and under-recognized communities — that we don’t know and that we do not get to remember.
Wettenstein grew up in Connecticut and moved to New York City after graduating from Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. She was said to have been a mentor to many young journalists.
According to her cousin, Louise Stone, in her early career, Wettenstein worked in public relations for several major companies. Though never stated as such, she encountered sexism and faced resistance to her goals of promotion and success. She freelanced after leaving the corporate world and truly devoted her life and work to education, advocating for women, writing about inequities, and mentoring girls through different programs in NYC. She was said to have been a mentor to many young women journalists.
Stone also shared with JAWS that Wettenstein was, “a playful and sharp dresser, full of stories at the table.” “She loved NYC and always knew where to find a bargain. Her passion and nonstop advocacy and commitment was to women and girls. For equality, to be given respect, and opportunity.”
Wettenstein was the author of “A Woman’s Book of Days,” which Amazon described as a “unique and encyclopedic day book designed to celebrate women: their history, leaders, and achievements.”
According to Wettenstein’s bio from the Women’s Media Center, she “is also the founder of the blog and website of Beverly Wettenstein” Women Make History Everyday.The message in her writing and speeches is “Celebrate Women Every Day!” She is the author of “A WOMAN’S BOOK OF DAYS” daily journal of Female Firsts, Fun Facts and hundreds of popular and unknown women’s achievements.
A women’s historian, in 2018 Wettenstein published a post on Medium about the need for a Women’s History Month. She wrote”
“This is why we need Women’s History Month in March to feature women’s achievements factually. Currently, only 13 percent of historical figures in history textbooks are women. Due to women’s history advocates working to correct the data deficit, the statistics are up from the only three percent of references to women in history textbooks in the early 1990’s. It’s important to report on the women who persisted and defied conventions and challenged stereotypes to advance future generations. Pioneers are rarely the direct beneficiaries of their fearless feats.”
In the blogpost on Medium, Wettenstein noted her four rules when discussing women’s history: “Research, Record, Report, Remember.”
Wettenstein was someone who celebrated women and who fought to make sure women’s stories get told. It is fitting that, even in her passing, we are able to tell the stories of so many more women this month and to promote the work of female journalists across the country and even the globe.
An archive of Wettenstein’s tweets are available here: https://twitter.com/bwettenstein
Wettenstein died April 5, 2019.
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