Interviewee: Meri M. Smith
IWY TX 471
Interviewer: June Hahner
Date: November 18- 21, 1977
Meri M. Smith was a member of Business and Professional Women’s Club of America and she was concerned with passing the Equal Rights Amendment. She grew up in Wyoming and attended Rock Springs High School. Interview includes discussion of the ERA and Smith’s views on the language of the amendment, gender discrimination, and the history of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of America.
Meri M. Smith: Others will automatically fall into place with states and other legislation but you don’t have the foundation, the law to base all the other things on, then you’re not going anywhere. So, we are concerned with getting the ERA passed, primarily, first and foremost. And personally, I think some of this concentration or whatever you call it, may have come about because in some fields or areas they still have a Victorian attitude towards that three-letter word in the amendment. If they had said “gender,” then you’d have to translate. Well, it means male or female. You have to get across the point that it is not just for women.
June Hahner: Mmhm.
MS: It’s for everyone and although we are feminists and I would like to see a monument or museum for women as they are for men, women have been discriminated more. I have been fortunate not having faced too much of it in the states I’ve lived in – Wyoming and so on. Graduated from Rock Springs High School and until I got into this cruel, cruel world I didn’t get involved with all the discriminatory and political…I did see it in travels to Texas during the war before they became more or less emancipated too. So, my main concern is working to and with the BPW, as close to ERA.
JH: Now, you said that, ah, you got the name…
MS: Meri Smith.
JH: The organization? You said you’re with the business women’s?
MS: The Olympia Chapter of the Business Women, Professional Women. Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of America.
MS: Which is the oldest women’s group in the country.
MS: And I just found out myself that they were originally sponsored way back in about 1909 I think, or 1919, they were set up by the federal government in the beginning because the government recognized the need for a group of women to look after women’s causes.
JH: Is the anything that you think I should be asking you that I’m not? Anything you want to say?
MS: No, I think the nation knows that Washington stays in the leadership of making things right with all above it, the people. If we don’t like them, we’ll vote them out.
JH: (Laughter) Well, okay. Thank you very much.
MS: Thank you.
End of interview