Interviewee: Phil Pless
IWY SC 659
Interviewer: Rachael Myers
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Phil Pless, of Greenville, South Carolina, attended the IWY conference to express his opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. Pless believed the amendment would be detrimental to women. Interview includes discussion of Pless’ belief that the Equal Opportunity Act of 1973 already secured the equality of women and his interest in the child protection workshop. He was a graduate of Bob Jones University and a teacher.
Rachael Myers: Okay, what is your name?
Phil Pless: Phil H. Pless.
RM: And where are you from and what’s your address?
PP: Greenville, South Carolina, 127 LaVista Apartments.
RM: Okay, do you have any particular purpose for attending this Conference?
PP: Yes, I feel that my conservative opposing viewpoint in opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment should be expressed.
RM: Okay, do you feel that any other feelings concerning this Conference, do you think anything will come out of it benefitting you, benefitting women, benefitting men?
PP: I feel that right now it is in control of the pro-ERA stance and therefore I feel that my conservative viewpoint might help women out, in my opinion, on the Equal Rights Amendment. I feel that the Equal Rights Amendment would be a detriment to women.
RM: So you feel that this convention, the International Women’s Year Convention, is, the one single issue is the Equal Rights Amendment?
PP: Well I feel it is a major issue as well as maybe equal employment for women in all areas of doctors, you know, lawyers and so forth.
RM: Can you expand on that, your feelings about that?
PP: Yes. I feel like that women now are facing a discrimination like in jobs, so like for equal opportunity to jobs and things along this line, and I feel like the 1973 Equal Opportunity Act already states that women have equal rights in areas of education and of equal opportunities for jobs.
RM: Okay, have you looked over the proposals that will be voted on later on this afternoon?
RM: Do you have any opinions about those as far as asking President Carter to put further pressure for making sure that these laws which already exist are enforced?
PP: No, I have no further recommendations to President Carter. I just feel that he should not pressure the states in the south and other states to force passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, rather leave it up to the states themselves. I feel there’s a question of states’ rights as well as the issues that are contained in this year’s Agenda.
RM: Okay, were you in attendance yesterday?
RM: Okay, so you really have no idea what the feeling is at this point?
PP: I have read it in the papers, that’s all that I’ve been relevant to me so far, just what I’ve read in the morning news and the daily newspapers.
RM: Are there any particular workshops which you’re interested in or which you will be attending?
PP: Yes, I feel like I’m interested in this child abuse and child protection aspect of the meeting. And also rape, I’m thinking it’s the battered woman, I’m interested in that particular segments. They appeal to my particular interest.
RM: Is there anything you expect to learn or to be able to contribute in these workshops?
PP: Yes, I feel that the case in, like in Minneapolis or Milwaukee or wherever it was recently that the kid, even though the judge suggested that it was provocative dress, I feel that the girl has a legal right to be protected by the law against the crime of rape. Things along this line. And also in the case of child protection, I think sometimes a state goes overboard in overprotecting the child; so like telling a parent it cannot discipline his child, has no control over the child’s behavior, he cannot paddle, and then the other extreme, I think we can go to the extreme where we say that the child’s abused by his parents, he’s beaten, molested, is given no food, is given no medical, clothing, you know, medical supplies and clothing and things along this nature.
RM: Okay, is this the first convention of this sort that you’ve been to?
PP: Yes. It is.
RM: Okay. May I ask what your occupation is?
PP: I’m a student, I graduated from Bob Jones University with a major in Bible and I’ll be teaching this fall in a private, independent school.
RM: Okay. Thank you very much. I hope you enjoy the Conference.
PP: Thank you very much.
End of Interview