Interviewee: Mary Sutherland
IWY SC 675
Interviewer: Kathie J. Carter
Date: June 11, 1977
Mary Sutherland, 23, from North Augusta, South Carolina, attended the state IWY conference because she wanted to learn more about women in society. Interview includes discussion of Sutherland’s support of “nontraditional” families and her hope that the conference would produce clear action items for the advancement of women. She also hoped that women would gain more access to scientific, medical, and trade careers as well as leadership positions.
Kathie J. Carter: Ok. Could you give us your name and address, please?
Mary Sutherland: Mary Sutherland. 1120 West Avenue, North Augusta, South Carolina.
KC: Why did you come to the meeting this weekend, Mary?
MS: I came because a friend strongly recommended it. And I knew I’d probably learn some new things about what’s going on for women in our society. And get some new ideas about how to keep my roles what I want and not what society says for a woman. I feel like I need to constantly be checking what I do to make sure it isn’t, um, bred into me, it’s something I really want to own.
KC: That’s something you really want to do for yourself?
KC: So far, what’s been your experiences here?
MS: Um, to me it’s been fairly quiet. I haven’t gotten really excited about what’s going on, except for the fact that it’s women together, that’s exciting. Um, I’ve gone to different business meetings, and, what do you call them, sort of introductory lecture-type meetings. Um, I haven’t really come up with anything new yet. But hopefully some of the workshops will give me some new ideas, and some new things to think about for my life.
KC: You mentioned earlier that one of the things of particular concern to you is being certain that you’re doing what you want to do because that’s what you want to do, and not because it’s what you’ve been programmed to do.
KC: What are the concerns you have as a woman?
MS: What other concerns? Um . . . I have . . . a real strong feeling that I want to be a mother. This plays into the same thing as about a role as a mother. Um, I would like to find out sort of how I can be the kind of mother I want to be, which doesn’t necessarily mean a traditional nuclear family. And kind of . . . I would like to meet some people . . . maybe I can explore some of those ideas. Um, is it possible in our society to be a mother without your traditional nuclear family. I’m not saying I don’t want that, but I’m saying I’m looking at the fact that maybe there are other ways to go about doing it. Like living in a group situation, or being a single parent, or . . . something besides the traditional.
KC: You’re looking at something other than a traditional nuclear family as perhaps an option.
KC: How old are you?
KC: What do you hope to see coming out of these meetings?
MS: I would like to see some real, positive action statements about what we want the government to do for women. Um, I guess the one workshop I was in briefly, I didn’t see that. I saw very general, philosophical statements. And those are fine, but you, I think we what we need to do here is to set down some “you can do this for us.” You know, very specific. And, so that the people can carry them out. These general sorts of things, I don’t see them as able to carry out.
KC: What workshop were you in?
MS: The, uh, women in non-traditional roles.
KC: What kind of statement would you, if you had your choice, would you like to see coming out of (sneezes), excuse me, a workshop such as that?
MS: Well . . . I’m not sure. (Laughs) I think I would want something along the lines of . . . well, this just off the top of my head, something like, there will be a training period for women in certain non-traditional jobs. Um, where they can get on-the-job training. And, at the end of that period, and make it specific, then they would be evaluated as to whether they wanted to stay, or leave. Whether the employer wants them to stay, and whether they want to stay. Um, given the opportunity to get into some non-traditional fields with, like, a training period, or an apprenticeship-type period. I mean, the kinds of things I heard were things like, “women will be encouraged to become non-traditional.” You know?
KC: What kinds of non-traditional jobs did you have in mind?
MS: Um . . .
MS: Well, there’s a traditional non-traditional roles, such as doctors and lawyers. And, um, things like that. But I was thinking more along the lines of a craftsman. Like a cabinet makers, or construction jobs. Or architecture. Um, jobs in fine, sort of pure sciences. Or in mathematics. Like in higher mathematics. Or even, you know, leadership-type jobs. Executive-type positions. Where I think women are taught, as well as men, or little boys are taught more about how to be leaders, or how to, you know, that you make decisions. I think it’s just easier because of our society for men to be leaders. So I’d like to see women go into leadership jobs with some help. Teach them what it is to be a leader, and what to organize different people.
KC: Is there anything else you’d like to add to the record?
MS: I think International Women’s Year is really a good thing. All these state conferences, and I’m excited about just the fact that we’re all here, and we’re all together. And trying to work together.
KC: Thank you very much.
MS: You’re welcome.
End of Interview