Interviewee: Gloria Julagay
IWY TX 241
Interviewer: Sister Marie Heyda
Date: November 18-21, 1977
Gloria Julagay, a Filipino-American, was originally from Brooklyn, New York. At the time of the interview, she lived in Buena Park, California and served as an IWY state coordinator. She attended the National Women’s Conference as a delegate from California. Issues important to Julagay included support for the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion rights. Interview includes discussion of her perspective on raising consciousness of inequalities, her founding of an Asian American center in Orange County, and how her family supported her women’s rights organizing.
Marie Heyda: Would you like to tell me your name and where you stand on equality of women and all that?
Gloria Julagay: My name is Gloria Julagay. I come from Buena Park, California, Orange County. I am married, a mother, grandmother, I am pro-plan and I do support the ERA 100 percent. It’s something that is needed, and I’m sure that as time goes by and all this is brought to Washington that President Carter and others in Congress – our congressman Jerry Patterson supports it that we will have more laws supporting ERA 100 percent and not just a tokenism or some verbal agreement that’s not going to be enacted. It’s very important. I think we’re tired of the verbal tokenisms, pat on the shoulder, so now I think some things concrete are being done.
MH: Now, do you think that a woman like Phyllis Schlafly really knows what it is, such as the Chicanos down there in Orange County, the discrimination they suffer and the inequality of pay for equal work?
GJ: No, because people like Phyllis Schlafly, maybe even some people in Orange County, are just not aware of the need. They have not been able to see the other side of the coin, so to speak. When this does happen and awareness is brought to them there is a complete change-about. They do become aware; they’re more sensitive and much more considerate. And this is a big help. The idea is to educate people to your need. Make them aware. And once that happens, everything goes along quite smoothly. These are the things you see in Orange County.
I did have a little problem – I originated and founded the one and only Asian American center in Orange County and when I started people said, oh, I didn’t know we had any Korasians. Now they look at our strawberry fields and they feel that there’s a very wealthy community of Asian people; this is not so. You have to look beyond the strawberry fields and other type farming industry. We do have people who have needs. They may not always be monetary, but we have many other types of needs, social needs that have to be taken care of. And I feel very proud of the fact that I did originate and found this coalition.
MH: What are you yourself?
GJ: I am Filipino American, born in Brooklyn, New York, now living in California for approximately twelve years and love it.
MH: Do you think that the pro-life arguments either for or against abortion should enter into this equality of women, or is that just muddying the waters, confusing everybody?
GJ: No, it may sound confusing but I don’t think – it’s important, it belongs here. Abortion, I personally feel, should be a person’s choice. We’ve had too much in the past, people are not aware, again, specifically on Indian reservations where women are sterilized and they don’t know. Poor white women, who are also if you want to call a minority – I don’t like the word but for the lack of a better word – poor white women, American Indians, other people who have had criminal offenses for one reason or another have been given abortions who have not realized what was happening to them. They go further than abortions, they’re sterile. I think this is a crime.
MH: The anti-abortionists, if you’re for equal rights for women, the two necessarily have to be pro-abortion. I don’t like that tactic at all. Sometimes those who are for abortion in forced sterilization are really against women and women’s equality and rights.
GJ: This is true, and I think sometimes a choice of words, a technicality, a terminology gets misrepresented and quite often we don’t realize that we’re using a wrong terminology.
MH: How did you get elected as a delegate here? Did you have any trouble?
GJ: No, not at all. I was really quite flattered and very surprised. I was asked by Washington to have a luncheon. One of the IWY representatives in Washington, D.C. to have a lunch for American Indian and Asian American women of Orange County. They there again didn’t think that there were so many people and they were quite surprised when I produced forty-five of these people at a luncheon. Knowing Orange County, this is quite a feat. I really didn’t think too much of it after I had the luncheon. It all went very well, everybody was very interested, and a short time after that I received a letter from Washington and I’ve been a state coordinator in California from its inception of IWY.
MH: The initiative was really taken by the federal government.
GJ: Yes, and after doing that, having the letter, I did go to our initial meeting, became state coordinator and worked on various committees, subcommittees, that I –
MH: You seem to be talented in being articulate, Madam. Have you been fortunate in having an education?
GJ: No, quite the contrary. I have no formal education. I have a high school education, nothing more. I went to business school for a short time. I got married when I was eighteen, so I have not had the time for a formal education.
MH: Do the men of your family just encourage you to have self-confidence? I think often –
GJ: Very much. I have a husband and a son at home, and they both encourage me and they assist me if I’m out late by chipping in with the housework, helping with the dishes. If they think they need clothes washed and I’m not around they know how to use the washing machine, dishwasher.
MH: Would you say that’s common among – should I call you a Chicano?
GJ: No, I am Filipino.
MH: Filipino, would you say that attitude is quite common among Filipino? The men, quality of work, let’s say, the woman’s role isn’t so stereotyped.
GJ: It was at one time and there again I think that’s changing too, when they realize that women are becoming more vocal, they have an awful lot to offer. They are most of them pretty educated, not educated education-wise but —
MH: Right, the right values.
GJ: The right values, insight to do something, so they’re really terrific and I’m really fortunate in having a husband and a son that don’t complain, Ma, you didn’t bake, and Ma, you didn’t cook, and –
MH: Would you say with some of the –
GJ: I want Carter to really look at the pro-plan, the ERA specifically, study it, and understand all that calls upon. I’m sure that he and Congress do not agree with the entire plan, that there are people for him to meet with and discuss it and work out the problems.
End of Interview