Oral Histories

Dianne Williams

Dianne Williams talks about working with men on the job.

Dianne Williams: It was a good experience. It makes you stronger. It makes your character stronger, when you know what you have to deal with and you know how they feel and you know what to expect out of them. It makes you a stronger person. And it probably helped to shape how, where you want to go and what role you want to take with the Postal Service.

Jane Broendel

Jane Broendel talks about working alongside men in the postal service.

Jane Broendel: The guys were for most part regular guys, treated me pretty much like one of the guys. Supervisors the same way. I really didn’t have any hardship. Or anything the way I was treated. Handled the mail, carried the mail just as well if not better than a lot of the guys.

Michele Ditchey

Michele Ditchey recalls working with men in the service to be mostly a good experience.

Michele Ditchey: For the most part every station is like a family, everybody knows everybody and its, you just would go out together, would have Christmas parties together, any kind of big celebrations, you’d have things happening together. And I’m very active in the union, and so were most of my fellow letter carriers. As a matter of fact when I got to the station, and had only been there 9 months, I was in what was called part time status, I ran for shop steward and beat this guy out who had been there for 15 years and they didn’t like that because I was the new kid on the block and I was a woman. But next thing you know I made them promises that I would enforce the contract and I did.

Marge Oehlke

Marge Oehlke talks about gaining co-workers respect.

Marge Oehlke: In actuality, I found that through, how can I say, maybe a gaining or keeping my integrity and continually wanting to do well, and to be a continual learner as well, I have gained the respect of my male coworkers, and in turn, yes, I have had some male coworkers who have mentored me in the past and, have shown me, you know, direction of where I need to go in my career and to you know, how can I say, and actually get a wealth of knowledge that helped me in my career.

Joyce Olivera

Joyce Olivera recalls her “three musketeer” co-workers.

Joyce Olivera: When I went to, um, Daytona in 1976, um, I was-made sure that-the supervisor made sure that I was part of the unloading the trucks and, uh, taking care of all the basic things, just like any other person would do. So, there was, uh, there was the transferring over at that time: they were still looking at women like they were not quite, uh, what they should be. So it was-um-it was very good experience and, um, I didn’t mind. It was-I didn’t have long fingernails after a while in there. But, heh, it was okay. It was very good and, uh, some very good people to work with. Two guys and I went in on the same day and-and that was what we did. We stayed the “three musketeers” the whole time. Working together, as all men. So, it was good.

Dianne Williams

Dianne Williams remembers how some men at work who helped her along the way.

Dianne Williams: There were also men that felt like well I’m going to help you. And is that too heavy? Well just hold up, I’ll help you. And there were some who didn’t care how the others felt. They still looked at you as a female and they didn’t want you to lift anything too heavy, push anything too heavy. They still had the generosity well this is a female working with me and I’m going to help her. So yes, you had men like that.

Mary Johnson

Mary Johnson compliments her male co-workers.

Mary Johnson: The men I work with are nothing but professional, um, nothing but great teachers and great leaders and, uh, I’ve been very blessed to be on this team. And I think that they’re fantastic guys. And, uh, they teach me something new every single day. So, I’m very appreciative of that.

Judy Beard

Judy Beard discusses how working alongside men has changed over the years.

Judy Beard: When I first got hired it was somewhat negative, because it wasn’t as many women in the postal service at the time. I was making $2.49 an hour, when I was first hired, and it was negative. Until more and more women got into the postal service, and changed you know that feeling. And they saw themselves as moving into the maintenance or moving into the electronic technician field. But because postal employees get the same pay, the equal pay, eventually they accepted it.