Selections from Interviews: Women at School and in the Workplace

Photo of Nan Snow by Rita Henry // First Person Plural: An Oral History of Arkansas Women
Photo by Rita Henry

There were no girls’ athletics in Harrison. We went to the superintendent of schools – a group of us girls – asking if we could start a girls’ basketball team. He said, “No.” We said, “Why not?” He said, “It’s not ladylike.” “We’d just prefer not to be lady like. We’d like to play basketball.” He said, “Do you really want to be like those country girls?” He began to name the small towns surrounding Harrison. We did not get the team. I worked on Title IX [many years later]. We all felt vindicated.

– Nan Snow, Writer & Administrator

When I started to think about going to college and what I would become, it was usually a service type of occupation. Become a nurse. Be a teacher. Be a housewife. Be a secretary. Care for children. Those are the only types of jobs I considered. But look at what you can do now. The field is wide open—engineer, architect, doctor. I never thought of those things.

– Grace Steuri, Community Volunteer

Photo of June Freeman by Rita Henry // First Person Plural: An Oral History of Arkansas Women
Photo by Rita Henry

Back in the ’50s, I was working toward a PhD in psychology [University of Chicago]. Travel was expensive. No e-mail at that time. Nice white women did not leave their husbands at that time. I didn’t work at that time. Our pediatrician said, “I need help. You better get yourself licensed on a master’s level.” I helped to get the mental health center established in Pine Bluff.

– June Freeman, Community & Arts Worker

I prepared a report on the status on women in state government in 1974. I’ll never forget one agency head. I asked about women’s opportunities for advancement. “All of our women have opportunities for hire at great secretarial positions.”

– Nan Snow, Writer & Administrator

Photo of Robyn Horn by Rita Henry // First Person Plural: An Oral History of Arkansas Women
Photo by Rita Henry

Because I really haven’t had any discrimination gender-wise, I have a real problem with women’s [art] shows. I can see where it would be a theme. It’s nice to be included, [still] I’d rather be noticed for my work. You make work as an artist in hopes that someone will respond in a strong, visceral way.

– Robyn Horn, Artist & Philanthropist