Interviewee: Liz Sole
IWY SC 671
Interviewer: Louise Pettus
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Liz Sole, from Simpsonville, South Carolina, was the state coordinator for the National Organization of Women [NOW] and had been active in the women’s rights movement for three years. Issues important to Sole include childcare, child abuse laws, and supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. Interview includes her impression of the poor quality of childcare in South Carolina, how to address the childcare issue, child abuse laws in South Carolina, and how Sole first became aware of feminist issues.
Louise Pettus: Alright, what’s your name?
Liz Sole: Liz Sole.
LP: And where are you from?
LS: Simpsonville, South Carolina. It’s in Greenville County.
LP: Small town.
LS: Yes, very small.
LP: Alright. What brings you here to the conference?
LS: Well, I’m the state coordinator for National Organization for Women and I’ve been working for women’s rights actively for about three years. But I’ve been interested in them ever since I was a little tot, I guess. And I was just really interested to see what other women in the state, their ideas, what they thought was the most important things in their lives, to meet people to see what our state…what they thought were the important things and see how they would handle some of the things that came through the IWY commission in Washington.
LP: Do you have a special interest or is it a very broad interest?
LS: Well, I have two special interests. Of course, NOW does have a statement on the ERA. Although this conference is not particularly addressing this question, we are interested in working for that. The other interest that I have is for childcare – that encompasses child abuse laws, plus regulating childcare. I have a four-year-old son and I’m very interested in providing adequate – more than adequate – childcare in this state and I am appalled at the quality of childcare in South Carolina. Childcare is not available to all women. It is not available to women when they need it. A lot of women, especially women in my area who work shift work, don’t have childcare say from 4 to 12 or 12 to 8 in the morning.
LP: Whose responsibility do you think that is?
LS: I think that in a lot of cases, for instance, with the childcare in plants, that I think plants have an obligation to provide childcare. In other areas, they do. In other areas of the country they do provide childcare. I think that it should be regulations. I see no other way than to have it by law, so that we are ensured that the children are being protected from haphazard care. I think that interested people need to prod our legislators into doing a little bit more in that area.
In the child abuse, I’m really upset. I, of course working for the ERA, I don’t have much time for too many other things. But I do know in the past year that a child abuse law that tried to go through the legislature was defeated and some of the reasoning behind it was that people who are against a law making child abuse a crime felt that they didn’t want the government coming in to tell them how to discipline their children. I feel that that is our obligation as parents and as concerned people that we can protect these children, all children, from child abuse.
And I think this is an issue that will affect all women. Young women, older women. Childcare, I think, that’s my main object right now is trying to do something with childcare. In this state, it’s not very good and it does not get a good reception in the South, I don’t think. You know, there are areas of the country, they have much more liberal – I don’t know if that’s quite the right word – but they do have a better attitude, the reasoning behind childcare. So that’s my main interest is with childcare since I am a homemaker and mother.
LP: Yes, now you said you’ve been interested since you were a child. I wonder what triggered that particular interest?
LS: Well, I have tried to look back and we have, in working with NOW, we go to CR groups and we discuss how we became feminists and I can never remember a time when I thought that boys had it made. I’ve always felt that there is no big deal between the two, that girls can do anything that boys can and that was the way I was reared at home. I mean, we played ball and we did anything that we wanted to do. Any ambitions that we wanted to do, we were not denied simply because we were girls. And so it’s very hard for me to decide at what age I acquired the term “feminist,” but it seems to me that I’ve always felt that way and I come from a matriarchal family, where the mothers and the grandmothers play a big role in determining the family life and I think perhaps that also contributed to my stand now as being a feminist, is my family.
LP: Alright. Very interesting story.
LS: Thank you.
LP: Thank you so much.
End of Interview