Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Rosamonde R. Boyd, October 29, 1973. Interview G-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Regret that the franchise did not make American women more politically active

Boyd regrets that the franchise did not make American women more politically active, as it did in some other nations.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Rosamonde R. Boyd, October 29, 1973. Interview G-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Another thing, in 1965 I was elected in Australia to a three year term on the Legal and Economic Status Committee of the International Federation of University Women. I served three years and went to conferences in different European countries every March. I was then re-elected to my last term when I went to the Karlsruhe, Germany conference and served a total of six years. We were making decided progress I thought in encouraging women, when they secured the franchise in their country to be very active-which we had failed to do when we secured the franchise in 1920. Women in countries that have recently enfranchised women have done amazing things in getting themselves elected to the central legislative body. I think that's the way it should have been with us. Unfortunately, it wasn't. The International Federation of University Women exerted a good deal of influence in that direction. We also exerted a good deal of influence in regard to the study of community property laws in our country in the eight community property states, to bring about some modification, where these laws still discriminated against women, although it seemed that they didn't. But there were discriminatory aspects. We worked on that. We also went far in advocating equal pay for equal work. Of course in the International Federation, we found that some of the countries would listen and some of the countries would bring about improvement but we had greater difficulty with the Catholic countries. They had this cultural pattern of subordinate roles for women. They were to be the wives; they were to be the mothers. They weren't as interested in our efforts to push women into the political scene and they weren't too interested in equal pay for equal work. We found that in many countries, when you move toward equal pay for equal work, then employers simply wouldn't employ women. That mitigated against them. In the International Federation, we couldn't be too extreme because we had to bring up the Catholic countries to get the general public [thank you] to accept women as having a role other than that of the home. With the countries that accepted equality of women, we found that certain of our proposals didn't set well and that women sometimes lost when we achieved the equal pay for equal work. That was rather difficult. You'd think that England would be just as equal as we but I had clippings sent from many English newspapers in regard to job opportunities. I was amazed that so many of the ads would list the range of women's salaries lower than the range of men's salaries for the same job.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What year was this?
ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
This was in 1968 . . . the triennial conference was in 1968.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Unabashedly they listed the women's jobs at lesser salaries.
ROSAMONDE R. BOYD:
Yes. There were other ads which specified that the applicant must be a man. Another interesting thing was that where there were new jobs in electronics and in radar and whatever was new, that they didn't care whether they had a man or a woman. There was a shortage of people able to apply, qualified to apply. Therefore, in the newer occupations women could get in on the ground floor and stay there.