Interviewee: Gladys Swindler
IWY SC 676
Interviewer: Rachael Myers
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Gladys Swindler, 70, from Columbia, South Carolina, was the public affairs chair for the South Carolina Federation of Women’s Club and an active member in the South Carolina Parent-Teachers Association and the American Legion Auxiliary. Swindler did not support the Equal Rights Amendment and she hoped to use the conference to speak to women about their “true benefits and privileges” already provided under the law. She did not feel that all opinions were given the opportunity to be expressed at the conference. As a Girl Scout in her teens, Swindler supported the women’s suffrage movement.
Rachael Myers: All right, first of all, what is your name and where are you from?
Gladys Swindler: My name is Gladys Swindler, Mrs. William Swindler, and I am a lifetime Columbian, South Carolina.
RM: And your address in Columbia?
GS: 515 Sunset Drive, Columbia, South Carolina, 29203.
RM: And if you don’t mind, what is your age?
GS: Seventy, today.
RM: What brought you to the conference?
GS: Well, I have been interested in civic affairs and in women’s organization, and I am state legislative chairman for two organizations, and public affairs chairman for the South Carolina Federation of Women’s Club and have been very active in civic work for many years.
RM: What kind of ideas have you brought to this meeting this weekend, and what have you hoped to get out of it?
GS: Well, I had hope to ascertain just exactly what might be lacking in women’s rights, and being a great believer in the rights for women, I have found that it has only amplified my decision that the women of the United States of America are the most blessed women in all the world, after seeing our oral history stories and knowing personally many of the great women in South Carolina who have added to our historical benefit.
RM: Do you think an educational process is going on here today and if so how do you feel about it?
GS: I do believe that there are many people here that have never had the advantage of knowing exactly what their true benefits and privileges are, and how they have access to more benefits and privileges. And I do think it has been educational for many of us who are very active and have been. We know these things, and I’m so glad to see that there are women here who can realize it.
RM: Are you bringing any particular ideas which you will be expressing here, any issues that are particularly interesting to you?
GS: Well, one thing is that I am anti-ERA, and I have been a leader in the South Carolinians opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment because I think it is absolutely unnecessary. I have been as legislative chairman for the South Carolina Parent-Teachers Association, for the Federation of Women’s Club state legislative chairman, and for the American Legion Auxiliary I have worked long and hard for all of the laws that are on the statute books today, the equal opportunity, the equal credit rating, the Depository Institution Act, and so I am hoping to share with my many friends, and I see thousands of them here almost, just hundreds of them, that I’ve known throughout the state, because I travel, not only for these organizations but for my church.
RM: Are there any workshops which you will be participating in or hoping to have input in?
GS: I have participated in the homemakers, the legal status of homemakers and very interested in that, and of course in the International Dependence Group, with the International Dependence Group.
RM: Do you feel that all ideas are getting expressed or being given the opportunity for expression at the conference?
GS: No, I do not. I do not think that they have. For instance, of course as I have said, I am particularly interested in educating women as to the benefits and rights they already have and how to take advantage of them, and I do not think that they are getting a broad enough vision of the rights they already have and how they can take advantage of them. I really do not.
RM: Do you believe that women need any more rights; that any other work needs to be done?
GS: No, I simply think that we should enforce the laws that are already on the statute book, and I think it can be done, and I think that we should enforce. Since I was a Girl Scout, fourteen years old, I worked in the suffragette movement, as a Girl Scout, with my mother and father who worked for it, and then when we got the vote, I think we have everything if we have the intelligence to use it. I really do. That’s what my father said, too, to his six daughters. He said, “Now, daughters, you’ve got the vote. You can do anything you want to,” and I have.
RM: Do you have any brothers?
GS: I have one brother and six sisters, eleven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.
RM: Okay, thank you very much.
End of Interview