Interviewee: Rook Hoyt Sturgis
IWY SC 674
Interviewer: Elaine Paul
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Rook Sturgis became interested in women’s issues after experiencing wage discrimination. Interview includes discussion of: Sturgis’ belief that women are discriminated against in the “political world” and how the South Carolina conference will benefit women who are interested in participating in business or politics. Issues important to Sturgis included the rights of older women and women’s access to credit. She was also interested in money management. Sturgis described herself as “very impressed” by the conference overall.
Rook Sturgis: …have been treated, if you want to call it that, in the political world and because of the workshops that they’re having here which will benefit all women who are interested in promoting themselves in the business world and the political world.
Elaine Paul: And how do you feel we’re discriminated against in the political world? I haven’t had anyone comment on that.
RS: Well, because of when you go to a kind of convention. Who are the delegates to the state convention? Most of them are men.
RS: And very few women are and there are very few women who are chairmen, cabinet chairmen of any political party in South Carolina.
EP: Mmhm, I see. Well, you’ve definitely been thinking a long time, I can see that.
RS: Oh yes, I have. I’ve been in the business world all my life, that’s the reason why.
EP: Oh, well tell me about that too then!
RS: Well, in the business world you work beside a man and the man makes more money than you do and you do most of the work and he sits there and is supposed to be doing what you’re doing and doesn’t do it. And therefore, I think that the women it’s time they demand that they be paid equal pay and that’s the reason this has created a lot of problems because they’re not equal paid.
EP: And that’s the way you became aware of women’s issues, right?
RS: Well, I would say that is.
EP: What you observed in the area of politics, in which you are involved, and in the area of business where you have found out about non-equal pay.
RS: That’s correct.
EP: Alright, and what do you think we are going to get out of this conference?
RS: I think that everybody’s going back home and work for the benefit of the other women.
EP: You think we’ll all…
RS: They’ll participate.
EP: You really think we’re going to get in charge?
RS: They going to participate. In other words, if you don’t participate, you don’t get anywhere.
EP: I’m really very impressed with what you’re saying. You lead me to believe that you were a mild little person and…
RS: Oh no, I’ve never been a mild little person. Oh, oh no. But I think you’ve got to get involved before you can accomplish anything.
EP: I’m very glad to hear this because I’ve run into so much apathy. Obviously, you are not apathetic. Well, let’s see, is there any issue that you want to specialize in? Is there one of the workshops that you are particularly interested in?
RS: I’m going to the one for the older woman and the one for credit. Well, I’ve forgotten the thing…I am interested in the workshop for the older woman and also in the workshop for credit and money management.
EP: Mmhm, and you expect to really gain something from that?
RS: Oh yes, I wouldn’t have come down here if I hadn’t thought I was going to get something out of it because there are too many important people who own this program and have directed it.
EP: And do you feel, thus far, you’re satisfied with the contents of the conference?
RS: So far, yes.
EP: So far?
RS: I’ve been very impressed.
EP: That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. Thank you very, very much.
End of Interview