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April 1, 2011

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


Sheriff Cabral (center) stands with Cambridge Postmaster Katherine Lydon and Boston Postmaster James Holland at the USPS Women’s History Month celebration.

Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral gave the keynote address before an audience of United States Postal Service (USPS) employees during their recent Women’s History Month celebration.

Held at the USPS Boston Processing and Distribution Center on Dorchester Avenue, the event also featured a health and wellness fair and several powerful performances by USPS employees who sang selections from popular female recording artists including Mahalia Jackson, Martina McBride, Billie Holiday, and Diana Ross.

The national observance of Women’s History Month by the USPS was begun nearly 35 years ago when the celebration was expanded from a weeklong event in 1987.

Before introducing Sheriff Cabral, Cambridge Postmaster Katherine Lydon spoke about the trials and travails faced by women employed by the USPS more than a century ago, and the significant advancements that have been achieved over years of struggle.

“In the 1900’s, women worked for the United States Postal Service, but they didn’t enjoy the same rights to work as their male counterparts,” said Postmaster Lydon. “In the early years, women who worked for the USPS encountered difficult circumstances directly related to being females, such as the order forbidding women from wearing trousers under penalty of arrest and the mandate stating that ‘women who changed their name by marriage shall not be reappointed.’”

Since then, said Lydon, women in the USPS have witnessed great change throughout the decades. According to historical accounts, in the year 1960, the USPS employed only 104 women as letter carriers. By 1983, there were approximately 8,000 female letter carriers. Most recently, in 2007, that number had jumped to 59,000, and in 2011 women now make up 58% of the USPS workforce.

“The women who came before us worked hard to overcome obstacles and helped to pave the way for us,” said Lydon before turning her attention to the day’s featured keynote speaker. “Sheriff Cabral is another woman who has been paving the way for women everywhere. She made history as the first woman to be elected Sheriff of Suffolk County and I am so excited to have her here today with us.”

Touching upon portions of the journey she has taken as a public servant with more than 23 years of dedication and her role as Sheriff of Suffolk County, Sheriff Cabral paid homage to the day’s theme by speaking about the profound effect of strong female role models throughout history.

“All of us, each and every successful woman, has stood on the shoulders of literally millions of women who came before us,” said Sheriff Cabral. “The strength that one woman has to become the first at anything comes from all of the women who came before them.”

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