Interviewees: Gwendolyn Carey
IWY TX 095
Interviewer: Mollie Camp Davis
Date: November 18-21, 1977
Gwendolyn Carey, 29, was from Houston, Texas and she was employed as a social worker. Carey attended the conference to see exhibits and purchase reading materials for the young women she worked with. Carey saw women’s rights as part of a larger human rights issue. Interview includes discussion of how many people in Houston did not know about the conference, Carey’s work with adolescent women and teachers, and her support of the ERA.
Mollie Camp Davis: (Unintelligible at 0:03) I’ll put the questions there in front of you, and it’s hard to have questions, because now . . .
MD: There is a connection that . . .
Gwendolyn Carey: Oh, yeah, I think that . . .
MD: A lot of people don’t mean it that way. And I know I would have entered it sooner or later when I was a battered wife. Would have, I’m sure. But I ended it (unintelligible at 00:31).
GC: Well, I think other people do. And I think there’s a connection, the way things go.
MD: Yeah, that, that. I could have asked you that. But then it would have . . . it didn’t seem to fit, the time I thought of it. But I’m glad that you . . .
GC: And it’s just like, at different times, different things focus on. It sounds like of cynical, but it is true. Different things have different times and now is the time of the battered woman.
MD: Yes, yes.
GC: And then next year…
MD: But when I needed it…
GC: … something else. Right, it wasn’t very good.
MD: When I needed it, the cops said in Charlotte, North Carolina, “We don’t want to mess in no domestic problems.”
MD: Can you believe that? And now it’s seen as…
GC: Oh, I can believe it, ‘cause I’m still hearing that.
MD: You still hear that now?
GC: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we still do.
MD: We have a hotline there. But we don’t have a place for them to go to. We have a place they can call, if they can get to the telephone. But . . .
GC: (Unintelligible at 1:30)
MD: Turn it on and see what it (unintelligible at 1:35).
MD: It’s 4:00, November the 19th. And I have two women with me. A Miss Gwendolyn Carey and a Theola Petteway. Gwendolyn, if I may call you that, I’m Molly Davis. And the first thing I think we ought to do is, if you don’t mind, is to put your name, or tell us your name, address, and zip code, and telephone number. And your occupations. So that, whoever would be using the tape in later years, or days, would be able to know something about you.
GC: Ok, My name is Gwen Carey. I live in three thousand 3000 Murworth, Houston, Texas, 77025. My phone number’s 664-6824, and I’m employed as a social worker. I’m twenty-nine years old.
MD: Gwendolyn, why are you here at this conference?
GC: I’m here because I want to see the exhibits of the different states, and I want to buy some buttons and some t-shirts, and pick up some books for the young women that I work with.
MD: Have you always been interested in women’s issues?
GC: Yes, ma’am.
MD: Aware of women’s issues?
GC: Yes I have.
MD: Ever since you ever, ever first remember? You grew up with it.
GC: Yeah. I think so. (Laughs)
MD: Well, good for you. That’s interesting. You, then, didn’t really have what some people would call a personal conversion experience that would lead you to . . . this would be natural for you to come?
GC: Right. A human rights issue in any direction, whether it be women, or color, or gay. Liberation of whatever. Human rights issues would draw me.
MD: You can always connect in person.
MD: So you think this conference . . . well, really what degree is this conference meeting your expectations. Do you think it’s an exciting conference?
GC: I think it’s very exciting. I’m happy it’s in Houston. I was very disturbed that people right here in Houston. I was very disturbed that people right here in Houston didn’t know that the conference was being held. I teach a sociology course, and we were talking about social movements, and the women’s movement was one of the topics under the heading of social movement. I was very disturbed when my class members did not know that the conference was being held here.
MD: Did your school or section supportive of the conference, or?
GC: Yes. In fact, I got a lot of support from the chairperson in the sociology department.
MD: I understand that the Chamber of Commerce didn’t support it. I read that in the newspaper, or something on that nature. Overall, do you think that Houston people are at the conference?
MD: You don’t think they do?
GC: Not overall.
MD: I’m glad you’re here. I’m very glad you’re here. What will you . . . do you think this conference will, in your personal life, change it very much? Or, in the largest society, make a difference in the lives of women?
GC: Yes, I’m sure it is making a difference in the lives of women. And I was looking at the MacNeil/Hehrer Report on public television last night. And they had done a Roper study. And seventy-two percent of the women polled said that the women’s movement had not made a difference in their lives. And that angered me so, because so many people don’t realize what an effect it has on their lives.
MD: They don’t realize it. They have it and they . . .
GC: Right, right. They appreciate what is going on, but I don’t think a lot of them have really thought back into the way things could be, if certain things had not come about, because of the women’s movement.
MD: That’s interesting to me. I wonder what a Roper poll would show of the civil rights movement. You know that’s made a difference.
GC: Right, but . . .
MD: Do you suppose people would say that it makes no difference in my life? They might. They might not be aware of what a difference it has made.
GC: Right. It would just depend on how they were affected. If it was a personal affectation, or whether or not it was a part of the community they were. I think they would attend and not realize how they were affected, unless it was a personal . . . mm-hmm.
MD: What will you do when you go back home? You said you came here for books and information. Are you finding that?
GC: Yes, I am.
MD: And you’ll have more when you go back?
GC: Right, I’ll work with adolescent women and teachers in the public schools. And so I’ll have a lot to share with them.
MD: I’m glad to know that. What obstacles do you think that women immediately face in education, or . . . what do you see as the biggest issues that the conference is addressing? Or, have you thought more about that?
GC: Well, I’m really pleased to see that the conference is very much focused on the Equal Rights Amendment. I was afraid that might get lost. You know, people would go home. And, you know, this would be the climax to forget about the ERA. And I’m glad to see that the momentum for ERA is still going.
MD: And you think this would help it?
GC: I hope so.
MD: Well, I’ve enjoyed talking with you. And I now have Theola Petteway.
End of Interview