Pioneering Women and Early Government Leaders

Belva Ann Lockwood

17-cent Belva Ann Lockwood stamp
The Belva Ann Lockwood stamp was issued on June 18, 1986.

Belva Ann Lockwood (1830-1917) was a trailblazer for securing the legal rights of women, opening the door for many women to enter politics. She strongly advocated women’s rights and drafted a bill in 1872 for equal rights for female civil service employees. When the bill became law, Lockwood was inspired to get her law degree, becoming one of the first women to earn a law degree, in 1872. She drafted legislation for Congress providing equal pay for equal work for female government employees and for women to be allowed to practice before the Supreme Court. She then became the first woman to do so. Lockwood wrote amendments to the statehood bills of Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma to allow women the right to vote. Lockwood was also the first woman to run for the presidency, under the National Equal Rights Party in 1884 and 1888.