thumbnail of Woman Alive!; #202; A Time of Change
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
here we go. This program
This program has been made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. American women are changing. Today, ten years after the beginning of this phase of the women's movement,
new laws and a new political awareness make change a possibility for most women. But real change is personal change. It is experienced by individual women in their own way in their own time. It is these experiences, these personal stories that can tell us what feminism really means in the everyday lives of women across this country. Sunday morning in rural Illinois. In small towns like Phylo and Sydney, population 2000, the women's movement has made a difference. Ann Folless is a full-time housewife. Her husband, Dean, is the minister of the countryside Methodist Church. Ann and Dean Folless have been married for eight years. They have two sons, Troy IV and Ryan II. I do my best to reach what is ahead.
And I think this Fallean scripture has quite a lot to say to us. Quite honestly, I am frustrated. Quite honestly, the past year has not been the greatest joy in my life. I would define it as a frustration of arriving. I never desire to go somewhere, to be something, to do something. And it causes frustration. It's always there. I'm in Dean and of course our mutual faith was one thing that drew us together. And I like the idea of being married to a minister and I took the fact that I was going to be a minister's wife very seriously. And it never occurred to me that my life would ever be any different. When I started thinking about the women's movement, there was a fear that it was the threat to my basic religious convictions.
I feared that it would threaten my marriage and I feared that it would threaten the security of my life. But in the long run it's also helped her as an individual and therefore as a Christian and as a partner to me in the church. Next time. Okay, glad that you drive that way. She always looked around. In our particular situation and to be quite honest, I think what has been able to, for us to make this adjustment, these adjustments, exactly I, because I probably represent the power structure and that meant giving up some of it. It's a transcendent love of Christ for us. We have something that we love that we both share that's the most important thing of our lives. So everything else we both understand has to feel underneath that. But she jumped in with both feet and I didn't really wanted to do that because that meant that I would have to change some of my ideas and tell my views. If I was a representative of the power structure and our marriage, I was going to have to give up some of it.
The change that both of us have undergone is the change of our own egos. Of course we haven't got everything under the equal rights of men either. And he won't watch a car and I'm not changing a baby. So we're still struggling with those two. Got your mind off the middle east. I became very interested right away in working for ratification of equal rights amendment. And as I started studying about ERA, I was really horrified at the laws regarding the married woman. This was probably the most irritating thing to me. Well, it just wasn't irritating. It made me furious. It still does. I had no conception of common law at all. And when I realized that, well, of course, the basis of common law was described 200 years ago by Blackstone. Blackstone said that when a man and woman get married, they become one and that one is the husband. To me, if I had even defend that stupid death like saying whether or not we should have the right to vote, for crying out loud, that dumb. Our whole culture is reflexive. It's not just economically. Our whole attitude.
So I began to feel angry about this, but then I began to think, what does this say to me at the housewife? Can I no longer be a housewife? Then I of course went through the phase where I said, well, I don't mean to be liberated. And this was kind of a very smug attitude. Without really understanding it very well at all. I've since developed, of course, since I have come to understand that the women's movement and the equal rights amendment is not a threat to the housewife. And in fact, by saying to a woman, you have a choice now. This is not something that's imposed on you as an inferior. This is something that you can accept or reject as an equal person. And this is what the women's movement says. And most specifically, this is what the equal rights amendment says. And I became very concerned with the attitudes that women had toward the women's movement, who were homemakers. For example, one woman said to me one time, well, I heard many times in debates. People always refer to ERA opponents as people who call housewives, housewives drones, and slabs. And I always go, oh, and I believe that they're saying that. And this is very much the attitude.
And of course, here I sit as a housewife thinking, well, how does that sit? I'm a housewife. And I don't say things like that about myself. But this is the attitude that people have. And it's not very hard to sell somebody on this. It's not very hard to tell a housewife that this is the attitude that the women's movement has toward her. Women have gotten this image. And I think there are some radical feminists who do have this attitude toward housewives. But they're a few and far between. I have never met any of them. And I think that it's really unfortunate to label this. And if I've heard these things and caught the attitude and read about the attitude, I became concerned to work for ERA as a housewife. And this is my answer. Housewives for ERA, I think it's just by its name as a tremendous answer to this. My self as a housewife. I mean, I was really excited. It was kind of a mixed feeling. All of this is fantastic. Look at the things I can do. And I can accomplish. And I don't have this restriction anymore. This mental thing holding me back. You're a little woman now used to sit there and be good and don't get up.
I can do these things. Look at what I can do. And the other me was saying, oh my gosh, what's going to happen to you if you go out and do these things? It was a very emotional upheaval. It terrified me. It was exciting. And I think, well, I sometimes think I'd like to have that excuse again sometimes. I'm a woman, I can't do that. But you don't have it anymore when you take on the women's movement. And I think that's the reason that there is so much resistance to the women's movement from women, particularly traditional women and particularly housewives. Because I think there's a spear that you're going to lose something. And in fact, you do lose something. But as always, you gain a great deal more than you lose. Come on, let's go. Come here. You're a starving boy. I don't know. Can I put you right here, too? Sit up there. What's the matter, honey? How about this first? How about this first?
I could say a chicken leg for you. Are you hungry? Well, can I have a chicken leg? Do you want to eat it? How about if you pray? You can't wait to pray. Do you like daddy to say pray? Yeah, you've got to wait to pray. Father, we thank you for life. We thank you for the mean to life that you bring through your son. Ann Folless has chosen her profession as housewife and mother. Ann reaches out to other women like herself in her work for equal rights. She has discovered that her basic religious faith has been deepened through this feminist experience. Praise the Lord, come and think. Praise the Lord. Let's just live the hearts for heaven and raise the Lord. Let's just raise the Lord. Let's just live the hearts for heaven and raise the Lord.
Two years ago, women's professional softball did not exist. Joan Joyce has opened the way. Joan Joyce is one of the fastest softball pictures in the world. She has won 516 games and lost 33. Her lifetime winning average is 94%.
She has hurled 57 consecutive scoreless innings. She has pitched 34 shutouts in one season. She has thrown 123 no hitters and 38 perfect games in her 18-year career. I like to strike out people. In 1966, I did a study at the University of Southern California and I was clocked at 116 miles an hour. I think the reason I have been successful in pitching is because number one, I'm quick. I throw the ball hard.
Along with having the quickness on the ball, I can throw a rise ball, a drop, a screw ball, a curve ball and a knuckle ball. I use all those pitches and it makes a very difficult on the batters to have the ball coming in hard and moving all the time on them. I think that is probably the major factor in my success. This evening is special. Joan Joyce has pitched many outstanding games in her long career but tonight's game marks a turning point in women's softball. This is the first game in the first world series of the first international women's professional softball league. In Meridan, Connecticut, the Connecticut Falcons, champions of the Eastern Division, face California's San Jose Sunbirds, winners in the Western Division. Some of the scientific considerations that I look at before I go in and pitch a ball game.
The weather factor, how much humidity is in the air, which way the wind is blowing, all of those things are taken into consideration on how I throw. So that if I'm throwing a drop, I try to work with all the seams going against the air to grip to make the ball move to exactly where I want it to go. I think that I've learned an awful lot by participating in sports about myself as a person, how I react under pressure, how I can handle pressure for what you're not really going to get until you get out into the world. And I think it's a fantastic asset. So she was coming up to steal my uniform and said, go ahead and try it, we'll break your arm and throw you over the balcony. Now again, there's no point in talking about what Joan's going to do. I really think we have to look for her, try and get us to go for this one. She likes to her outpitch to be that low ball.
The secret is, we've got to make contact. Now on the whole, I think that our defense is a lot stronger than theirs. I take ground balls that can hit our infield all day long over theirs. So the thing we've got to do is make contact and make them have to feel that ball. I think they bring out some real weaknesses defensively. We've got to do a squat through and take advantage of it, but we can't do it if we're up to just wave it at the ball. We've got to make contact. And if you follow the ball in good and you leave this stuff alone and this stuff alone, we'll make contact. We all can hit anything in here, but it's difficult to get that bad pitch. It's also very difficult to hit something you don't see. Take your eye off it. It's all there's to it. We just got to keep our heads in there and don't be afraid to open up and slap that ball somewhere. Get that big jump out of the box. Let's go get them.
Anytime you start something new, people are very leery of it and they all say, well, let's wait till the second year and see how it goes the first year. Once they get here and see what it's all about and see that we are going to be around for a while and see the way everybody plays, I think we're just going to be fine. Let's go find them first. Okay, Kathy Stookie, Irene, Joyce, Willie, Joan, Karen, Judy, Kathy, still well. No D.H., you can do it without one. Flint steals as well and has more steals on us than Kelliam, according to the book. So let's be aware of her. Let's expect them all to steal and advance. And Joan, you know they all like the big strikes. So try and throw some. The big thing about hitting is make sure you lay off the bad pitches, make cultural strikes. See, she has a lot of control problems too, but make her throw strikes. Three runs is enough. Everybody got to move that a house will everybody hits one, two, three, go! Let's go!
Let's go! Are you? I don't believe in natural talent. When I first started pitching, I started as a windmill pitcher which is the full circle and I absolutely hated pitching. I mean, I was wild, I used to hit batters, I couldn't get the ball over the plate. I just was not very good at it. I changed my style to the slingshot style and I worked very hard at it. I used to spend four and five hours a day just practicing.
And I think probably that was the greatest thrill of learning. You know, through the years of learning how to pitch, was to see that ball move and make it do things that other pitches couldn't do. We'll take a walk, Linda! Everybody reacts differently. People concentrate differently. I'm pretty quiet myself. I don't save very much. But I know exactly what's going on the whole time. Let's go! Let's go, Judy, where do we go? Let's go, let's go! Let's go!
It's probably the most knowledgeable person about softball that I have ever seen. I never realized this until I actually had the opportunity of being on her team. She's not only the best pitcher, I think, but to know her and just her knowledge of the game itself has helped me tremendously. And I just think she's probably the greatest around. Me playing professional softball is something that I have always wanted to do. When I was growing up, it was more like a dream. The boys always had the little league, and for the girls there wasn't anything. There wasn't anything at all. And now I have the opportunity, and it's like this dream has come true for me.
I think the most exciting part about it is that at last I'm finally getting paid for something that I really want to do, and that's playing professional softball. A lot of women do not have that opportunity. I think it's happening now because of the change in women's sports, so that girls are getting the opportunity to participate in all different type activities when they are very young. I think it will help in the producing of good athletes in about five to ten years. I play snow pitch and fast pitch, and most likely I'll be on it too sometimes. Most definitely I hope. But it's really great. Just to come on here and watch him, it's fantastic. I'll feel there's the infielders, the pitchers, they're fantastic. They know what they're doing. They never make mistakes.
They need to make mistakes. Come on in. Come on in. Come on in. Come on in. Come on in. Come on out. 19 strikeout again for Joan Joy for two hours, the batter is better. Come on in. Come on in. Come on in. Come on out of here. You turn up. Come on in. Come on in. I think the pro were the biggest challenge that I get out of the game is that I know the batters and I can throw pitches to some batters which I know they can't hit.
And I won't even go in and challenge them with that knowing that they can't hit that pitch. I'm going to challenge them with what I think they can hit and what they want from me. And I'll pitch it to them. But that's the kind of competitor I am. If you want a rise ball and you think you can hit the rise ball, I'm going to give it to you. Let's see you try. I can't thank you. Is that right? I don't know. He was about 14. He was about 14. Yeah.
I guess the Connecticut Falcons went on to win the championship by defeating San Jose in the first four games of a best of seven World Series. Do you remember my father? Mr. Nagel? Oh, is that right? Check that out. I see the league in two to three years as being just like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers and all of those teams. San Francisco. The women's movement itself has changed in the last ten years.
This change and its significance is analyzed by a founder and former president of the National Organization for Women, Eileen Hernandez. The interesting thing about the women's movement is that it's not as visible as it was in the early part of the 60s and visibility tends to mean how much media coverage you've got as a movement. What has happened is that the women's movement has not disappeared. It has spread out. We used to think an awful lot about the organization being the one that you focused in on. And obviously in the 60s, we talked about the national organization for women and some of the smaller women's liberation groups that we're focusing. And everybody zoomed in on them. That focus isn't there anymore because the revolution, which I believe has taken place, has really expanded. It has expanded into every woman's life and so that you see it happening everywhere. You see changes in some of the traditional women's organizations. The League of Women voters has certainly become more feminist than it was.
The American Association of University Women has turned feminists is looking at the condition of women's life rather than just talking generally about what ought to happen in the society. So I see that we have really infiltrated. If you want to use a word, I think that the women's movement has now infiltrated the entire fabric of American life. And I think that's positive. I've never really been very comfortable with the idea that there is some sort of single organization that runs the women's movement. I think that's a disaster. It's very dangerous to have any single organization being the target for a movement. This movement is much broader than that. And it's going to affect every woman's life and it has begun to do that. Long Beach, California. One woman who has benefited directly from change is brought about by the women's movement is Pat Stevenson. Pat is single. On Friday night, she relaxes by giving a dinner party for good friends.
She earns her living in a blue collar union job. Until recently, there were no women in this job. Quincy, how was it when I first started? Well, he was kind of nervous. Working around a lot of guys and all. But I think you're done real well when you first started. When I first started digging, instead of me digging the property away, I would just throw it up and all come all down my head. Just throwing it up everywhere, I guess. Pat works on a maintenance and construction crew with Arco, the Atlantic Ritual company, Western Pipeline. One time I was digging and I was wondering how come I was never getting through. You know, seeing how I was digging it whole for the longest. Come to find out the guys, they were putting the same dirt by again. But they thought it was funny. I didn't think it was funny.
I guess it teed off, but I don't think I showed it that much, but I didn't care for it, you know. Because I was thinking I'd probably get in trouble. And he's still laughing. You know, they would still be laughing on a body. If it's funny, I laugh. But if I don't think it's funny, I won't laugh. I just look at them, you know, shine them on. In other words, I just don't pay no attention to them, you know. My first day, I was very frightened. Because I was working around guys and everything, and they looking at you and you looking at them. And you don't know what they're thinking and I'm thinking something else. And it was very hard, you know, because I had to get used to them. And they had to get used to me. I think you'd be scared on every job that you go to. But this was a strange type of feeling.
Because everybody looking at you, you know, and I was like, oh my goodness. Like where I come from, there's a lot of women that I used to work in the fields myself. They used to do a lot of men's work in the fields too, you know. But around here, it's different, you know. A lot of women doing a lot of things that I've never seen them do before, you know. Like driving a bus, I've never seen a woman driving a bus before. You know, seeing what's happening there, you know. Driving a bus. I don't know, it just goes along with time, I guess. Ten years ago, I never would have thought about it really giving a first or second thought about doing this type of work. Because of the me and, you know, but now I look upon it, you know, women can do just about everything, you know, if they want to. And it's a challenge, most of all. I think it's a challenge against a guy.
Everybody must learn to take care of themselves, especially women. Because if not the men, not only men, and other people will take advantage of the women, especially if they think that they don't know what they're doing. That's it. I used to do the clerical work for EIS department. And the money that I make now is twice as much as I make then. Which I like better because I pay my car often, do some things for my family. And heaven, the finest luxury of life. Ten years ago, I would say I would probably be a housewife.
You know, doing something around the house or going out every now and then, but not doing this type of work. I think the women movement had a lot to do with what I'm doing. Simple reason because if they did, they probably said, a lady doing this, no, but if you probably was talked about in the air and they probably just decided to let me, you know, try it out. I feel different, and I feel good, uh, simple reason because knowing that I can do different jobs as before, just by looking at us, oh, I know I can't do this without even trying to do it. Just put it on that whole plug. You can put it the other way. Women should be able to work out on the job.
Any job that they can do as far as that goes, if they can do it, want to do it. There's no reason why they shouldn't. Well, you know, none of us were really born with this knowledge. We all learned these jobs. And I think that's progressing just as well as anyone else I ever worked with toward learning the job and the use of hand tools. So she told me the nicest story when she first came to work. She didn't know. She knew what screwdrivers and a carpenter's hammer and a saw was, but that's all. And she went home from work the first day. She got a serious robot catalog and turned to the tool section and studied those tools. And that's, you know, learn the names of different tools.
Is that what you did? I would like for other women to be on the crew if they come to stay instead of just coming for a portfolio short time and, you know, and leaving. Because you get attached to different people. Like I got attached to Quincy and when Quincy left, I said at first, but Quincy told me, you'll find somebody else that I would, you know, like as a close friend. So this time, I just picked two instead of one. Women like Pat Stevenson, who work and earn money, now make up 40% of the American labor force. The effect of economic change on the future of the women's movement is analyzed by University of Illinois sociologist Joan Hubert.
Whether the woman's movement is a flash in the pan that's bound to disappear in a few years or whether it's going to be long lasting is an extremely important question. And I think the answer to that question is very clear. If, as a human race, we are so stupid that somebody puts a finger on that button and we drop an atom bomb, that would wipe out both men and women, the woman issue and the woman's movement. But, barring that kind of catastrophe, the woman's movement is here to stay. The reasons are these. The main basis for the women's movement is the consciousness on the part of increasing numbers of employed women that they don't get a fair shake. They don't get the jobs they're entitled to that their education training, it would entitle them to. So this is the main psychological basis for the movement, this daily experience of discrimination.
Now, are more women going to enter the labor market or will women leave the labor market and the answer is that women aren't going to stop working? Why? Because nobody wants them to stop working. Imagine what would happen overnight if our nurses, our elementary school teachers, our secretaries, our stenographers, all these kinds of women workers just simply were wiped out of the occupational structure. But there's something even more important that's happening and I think it's going to be more important in the next 20 years. And that is that the two-erner family is becoming normative. Now, when I was a little girl, my mother didn't work and my father didn't want her to. And I think that generation of men disliked the idea of having their wives work because it indicated that they weren't capable of supporting a family. But most men today, the younger men, the college educated men, really like their wives to work. Why shouldn't they? It brings in a double income at very little added cost to the men. I can't overemphasize this point, by the way, that men really benefit from the two-erner family.
A study just published by the American Home Economics Association this year pointed out, for example, that if that the husbands of non-employed women spend six minutes a day on meal preparation and the husbands of women who are employed full time year round spend 12 minutes a day on meal preparation. So you see husbands in terms of daily house care are getting a real bargain when their wives work because it shoots the income up. But the real reason, the most basic reason the movement won't go away is that fertility is very low now. And there seems to be almost no chance that we will ever return to the kind of world where we expect the average woman to have seven children by the time she's 45. I mean, this was true in the United States at the turn of the century or before the turn of the century. And there's no chance that we're going to turn back the clock on that. This is oversimplifying somewhat, but you really have to see this long range movement in what people do with their lives.
Boston, Massachusetts. Elaine Noble is a politician and a feminist. She is working for effective change through the established system. Elaine was elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature from the sixth Suffolk District, a largely working class neighborhood in Boston. I've had some politicians tell me that I've caused too much trouble in my district because I do too much work. I encourage too much activism on the part of my constituents. And my response was what is too much that I see that is a very extremely positive thing.
He was jumping up and down and screaming hall and he was there. Oh, right. He really wanted that depth to play into change, but he could get full of it. Oh, I love him. I love him. He's a stuck guy. He's like you. He's like you. That's why he's a real proud. In her office in the state capital, Elaine plans her participation in a March and demonstration on Women's Equality Day. Hold on a second. What happens after women? What are we doing? I think probably just a little bit at the end. We've got to go to campaign office. Yeah. Tomorrow? Yeah. The March starts at noon. Yes, we'll be marching all of us in... With the banner, Wendy. Do you have any marching? Did you hit the band? Hop marching in the band. Oh, right. Okay, Linda's going to be in the band. Well, they don't have a name, but it's ten women who are organized to put a little band together.
Ten little women. That's us. Shut up. Excuse me. I'm sorry. Send. No, they just play. They have wonderful natural rhythm. Even do their thing, you know? I don't speak softly now. That's right. Okay, very good. All right. I think I feel a lot more secure this time around. And I think probably anybody who runs for office the second time does. Because I know that I've done as good a job as I could possibly do in those first two years. I think now that what my battle this time around is really letting people know that I've been a good representative and that a woman is also capable of being probably one of the best politicians that's ever represented there. Hey, all right. How are you? When we get to Kathy, open to the headquarters.
We've got to call Tiproneel's office and sit that up again. Yeah, I've got to call him. I think the exciting thing about being a feminist alive today is because of the changes. There are so many incredible changes. And it's sort of the second wave of a very early baby step development of I think a whole new millennium and a whole new way of not only changing this country but other countries. But I think it's extremely painful because we're not at that level of sophistication as a movement. We haven't learned the strategy. We haven't learned the tools. We haven't learned one, two, and three how to put the pieces together. And I think those of us who are putting our lives and ourselves on the line really feel that very acutely. You feel the pain of the fact that we are not a sophisticated political movement yet in terms of organizing, in terms of using our power and not only our personal power and our spiritual power but our political outward power in a very constructive way.
We have to learn that there's a tremendous amount of rewards by being direct and being honest with people. I think people are afraid, particularly political people of rejection. And I think if I were to talk to young women coming up, I think I would tell them that they have to be honest. To themselves. And honest to the people that they want to serve. Tenants. Who are the other speakers? Everybody from the Tenant Spirits organization is speaking. But who you are personally, ultimately, is reflected in your politics. No matter how terrific your ad agency is, no how terrific your copy may be. If you are uncomfortable with something, it's going to show up at some point or another.
And it's going to show up whether you're voting on a bill or making a decision about something in your district. But if there's some area that you haven't worked out personally, then you better not be political about it until you've gotten yourself together. And I think that I have seen more women do damage to each other, political women who have not worked things out personally. When it comes to a political, they turn on each other like a pack of dogs. And I would rather they not line up with me. I would rather they get out of my way than ultimately cause the kind of destruction that I've seen happen. Just because they personally had some problems with a gay issue, with lesbians, or with some other area of rape or abortion. And a lot of it comes from a personal perspective. And that's bound to turn up in who you are politically because it should be an integration of both. I think that's the only hope America has is when people decide to run for office or work outside of the system and make that kind of commitment personally, professionally and politically by saying I'm going to be up front as long as I'm on the job. Elaine Noble came into prominence during her first campaign.
She is a lesbian and was honest about it. She won that election by a two-to-one margin. In her second race, her record is a legislator won her the re-election. She more than doubled her vote to win by a four-to-one margin. Now what are these results from what ward? From ward five, dressing two. Okay, where's the list for these, or the systems that you were doing before, right? That's right. These aren't finished yet. One's done and one's done two. Look at the printing on this list. Elaine Noble has always leveled with her constituent. Even to the most personal decisions she has made in her life. Her re-election confirms her belief that people will support a non-traditional candidate who earns their respect. I can't speak for all the lesbians in America, nor do I want to speak for all the lesbians in America. I want to speak for myself. I want to speak for Elaine. And I view it as a personal preference.
And I view it as certainly an area of politics that can't be ignored. But it's a part of my lifestyle that's very precious to me that I'll defend. But it's a personal lifestyle. It's nothing that in danger is nor inhibits me from doing my political work or doing my job. And I think that's what I want. My constituent's to understand and to realize and to break through that stereotypical thinking and say, there is a dimensional human being. There is a decent person. Whatever labels other people put on her. I think my constituent see me as a human being who really does her job. And I think that's probably the best kind of thing I can do if other gay people really think I have a responsibility to provide some kind of model. I get very nervous when those words are used for several reasons. Just because I think it's sad that we have to look for models, I guess, more than anything.
I think it's the last act of the, at least the last scene in the first act of Galileo Galileo. When Galileo has recanted to saying that the world is flat so he can continue his kind of research and his little apprentice comes in. The young man, it says, woe to the woe to the boy whose heroes recant in Galileo's law in which I just loved was woe to the boy who needs heroes. I think that's something that explains my perspective, woe to the people who are looking for role models, because your role model should be yourself. I think that's my perspective on it and that's the way I handle it. I think that's the way I handle it.
Las Vegas, where the money is and where it isn't. Ruby Duncan lives on this side of town. She is an organizer of poor and welfare women. The feeling of being on welfare is one of the most degrading feelings that any woman could bear with. The welfare department don't do you any justice whatsoever. They make you feel very uncomfortable. They ask you questions that I feel that they go really too far with. They watch your home, they pay investigators from ten to twelve thousand dollars a year to watch a woman and two children get sixteen hundred dollars a year. The welfare department, it's just something that just shouldn't be. They have workers that come into your home that looks into your closet.
They look into your refrigerator, they look into your bedrooms. They watch us to see who goes to your house. They watch us your car license, whatever car pulls up, they watch us everything. So you feel completely degraded. You feel like you're in prison. So it's one thing about welfare is that the majority of the women that I've talked to throughout this country just wish they would just get rid of welfare and bring about something that is very much more relevant. I feel that it's very important that a woman has that dignity with her and her poor children. Because poor women in children in this country suffers from the big politics. And, as a matter of fact, poor women in children in this country is a gold mine, less face it. The welfare directors, the supervisors, could be retired, old degraded service men.
And they don't come in looking at women in children as a humane type of issue. Politics is the one, the reason why, that a group of us on one side of town suffering with our babies with no childcare, no jobs, no food, and own welfare. That we are the football that the politician, these old men, can get around and kick around and talk about that we are the cheaters. We are not the cheaters. The cheaters are those politicians and those guys that take care of the agencies in the program that should be making sure that the poor women in children in this country survive. And the women movement is just got to get in and just got to help the poor women. My advice for poor women in this country, what you got to do, you got to get out in vote, you got to get out in doughnut, you got to get out and talk about your problem, you got to be strong. You got to, for one simple reason, is to not let the goodies come along and stop you.
When you are a strong woman in this country and you are working toward changes, there's a thing in this system is called the goodies. The goodies are that you'll be put on low-need committees. You're being thrown boyfriends. You're being thrown everything in the direction to make you forget what you're going after. So what you must do, stand on your own two feet. Don't take no foreign answer. Always says we can do it and it's a must, it's got to be done. It's very important that you don't get discouraged. It's very important that you continue doing what you're doing. They are times you feel like that. You just can't make it. It's impossible that this job cannot be done. That's when you're getting a job done. It's when you get discouraged. The thing is to stick with it and work harder at it and stay on top of every move you can make. Ruby Duncan knows that poor women and women on welfare need jobs. The Las Vegas strip is where the jobs are.
Today she is organizing women who have low-paying jobs to ask for better ones. When I started organizing, especially with programs that deal with the community, I began to get phone calls, harassment phone calls, every hour on the hour. I know that any organizer within any community has to have enemies. Sure. So that's the name of the game when you're organized. You have to expect those type of things. You have to work around those type of things that never, never let that affect your mind. Have you ever applied for a better job? Yes. Oh, good. What happened? Well, they told me I had to go. They might have to have a little training. Did they attempt to give you any training? No. Well, yeah. I'd like to do something better. Okay. Have you applied for it? Well, and they don't have too many opens.
Okay. Well, apply for whatever you want. And tell all your friends you need. Whisper to them. Okay. Okay. I don't want you ladies to get fired, but I do want to see what a better position. Okay. Okay. Thank you. Let's think about applying from here. And this is for real. I'm paid on it. It's to like to do some of the things, join up with it, fine. If not, then it's left to you. It's your own choice. But you do have a right to know to apply for higher position, better position. And if you turn down, that's what we all about. And this is for real. Okay. Okay. When you begin to talk about how women can really help themselves. And I guess we are a living example. We organized the community. We got on the real project here in Operation Life, which is called Now the Economic Development Project. And we organized it from the ground up. And what we feel is one thing for sure. We're not going to let the men walk in and take it over.
Because we know it's so much of that kind of thing has happened when the organized men walk in and take it over. That won't happen here. Not as long as we are here. As a former welfare mother, Ruby Duncan learned how to survive in the system and how to change it. Through Operation Life, she brought into her community a lunch program, a library, a child care center, and a clinic. Ruby's special interest is children. And their needs come first at Operation Life. I don't want to come on. I never dreamed that my life would tumble in such good things, such beautiful ideas. And just working with the real community and the people throughout this country.
And what really bringing about economics and dignity and strength and all the kinds of lobbying that we have been doing, I never dreamed that it would happen that well. But I really enjoy it. Sweet baby, shall we come in? Let's go. This is a time of change. Things are possible now for women that were never possible before. The women's movement will continue to create change, too slowly for some, too quickly for others. But each woman who achieved success on her own terms in her own way opens up possibilities for all women.
In ten years, the women's movement has gone from an idea to an everyday reality. It has only just begun to set the dreams of women free. The women's movement will continue to create change.
This program has been made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Thank you very much.
Woman Alive!
Episode Number
A Time of Change
Producing Organization
WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
Thirteen WNET (New York, New York)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip-75-22v41tft).
No description available
Created Date
Asset type
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: cpb-aacip-a62edfae16d (Filename)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Master
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Woman Alive!; #202; A Time of Change,” 1977, Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “Woman Alive!; #202; A Time of Change.” 1977. Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: Woman Alive!; #202; A Time of Change. Boston, MA: Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from