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Women’s History Month begins

Female employees made strides in the U.S. postal system long before suffrage

Female letter carrier delivering mail in a U.S. mail truck in 1968
In 1968, Jane Mikesell began a 30-year postal career as the first female letter carrier in Phoenix.

The Postal Service will observe Women’s History Month, which begins on Friday, March 1.

The commemoration was first observed nationally as Women’s History Week in 1980. The week was chosen to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8, a global observance that began in 1911.

In 1987, Congress designated the entire month of March as Women’s History Month.

Women often advanced in the postal system long before they won rights in the world outside.

For example, women were serving in important postal roles more than a century before they could vote. In 1775, Mary Katherine Goddard became the first known female postmaster, and the first female mail messenger was Sarah Black, in 1845.

One of the pioneering pilots flying U.S. Mail was Katherine Stinson, the “Flying Schoolgirl” who dropped mailbags over the Montana State Fair in 1913.

Today, 45 percent of the USPS workforce is female.

The organization has celebrated many women and female achievements on stamps in recent years. These include civil rights pioneer Constance Baker Motley, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, author Toni Morrison, publisher Katharine Graham, sculptor Edmonia Lewis and nuclear physicist Chien-Shiung Wu.

Recent stamps have also paid tribute to women’s soccer, women’s rowing and the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational program receiving federal funds.

The Women’s History Month and National Women’s History Alliance websites have more information.