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Why Are We Still Calling Postal Workers 'Mailmen'?

It's an outdated way to refer to letter carriers, of whom more than a third are women.
United States Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier Lakesha Dortch-Hardy smiles as she sorts mail at the Lincoln Park carriers annex in Chicago.
United States Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier Lakesha Dortch-Hardy smiles as she sorts mail at the Lincoln Park carriers annex in Chicago.REUTERS/John Gress

The U.S. Postal Service is going through some long-awaited changes. A new fleet of trucks, for example, is set to replace those nearly 30-year-old boxy whites. There is, thankfully, a new policy on 911 calls, where postal workers no longer have to notify the postal police (there is such a thing) before dialing 911 in an emergency. Execs are even dreaming up ways to stay relevant in the digital age.

But there's another change for which the USPS is long overdue, though the service might not be aware that it's needed. Ask yourself: How do you refer to the people who deliver mail to your place of residence? Chances are, you probably say "postman" or "mailman." I do.