Interviewee: Ann Peteri
IWY SC 658
Interviewer: Elaine Paul
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Ann Peteri, 38, lived in Columbia and attended the University of South Carolina as a political science major. Interview includes discussion of why Peteri believed the IWY conference was important, why she went back to school in her 30s, and her support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Peteri worked on the George McGovern campaign in 1972 and organized a National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter in 1973.
Elaine Paul: What is your name, please?
Ann Peteri: My name is Ann Peteri and I’m from Spartanburg originally, but I live in Columbia and go to school here full-time at University of South Carolina.
EP: Oh, it’s great to get some students. My greatest fear was that we would have nothing but middle-aged women and I am delighted with the youthful…
AP: Thank you, I appreciate it. I am a middle-aged woman.
AP: I’m age 38, which I would consider the middle. But I started school at age 36 and I enjoy it very much. I’m a political science major.
EP: Fantastic, that is really good. Why do you feel this conference is important?
AP: This conference is extremely important. I have attended other conferences, but the scope of this conference is extremely important because it brings together many different women from South Carolina. In a sense that there are homemakers here, there are professionals here, there are blacks and whites here, and women’s rights activists. There are people who are not into women’s rights. Yet they all have one basic concern: where are we going as women in South Carolina? And I think it’s extremely important. I’ve just…listening in on the speakers, realized how many-faceted, different women come together and share experiences which, I think, makes the conference worthwhile.
EP: You have a very good perspective, I think, as well as a youthful appearance.
AP: Thank you.
EP: But tell me this, how did you first become aware of the women’s issues?
AP: Well, it was through politics. I worked in the McGovern campaign in 1972. Up to now, I had no political awareness whatsoever. After that, I organized a NOW chapter in 1973 in Spartanburg. And organizing a NOW chapter, which was viewed as a radical movement, and I guess it was at the time in Spartanburg, just launched me onto other political issues and interests and hence I’m into now political science. So…
EP: And that’s why you went back to school?
AP: Ah, one of the concerns was, yes, to know more about US politics. I’m a foreign-born American and so I had no knowledge, really, of politics in the United States and working in a campaign is an education in itself.
EP: Oh, it certainly is an introduction.
AP: And that was my start. But I have also done other things. I started a rape council in Spartanburg last year and I’m planning to, you know, stay active in woman related areas.
EP: And what do you anticipate coming out of this particular conference?
AP: Well, I’m hoping a resolution will come out in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment. I think it’s extremely important that, in unison, that we make a statement heard all over the state that we support the Equal Rights Amendment. I think that is one of the major concerns I see for women. And, other than that, just unity. A show of unity and sisterhood is what I’m looking for.
EP: That just seems to me a very, very worthwhile goal.
AP: It is.
EP: I want to thank you and certainly commend you for having terrific perspective on this situation in which we find ourselves as women today and you are going into the history.
AP: Thank you.
EP: Thank you very much.
End of Interview