Oral Histories

Kathy Yager

Kathy Yager recalls her first boss’s reaction to hiring a woman.

Kathy Yager: My first boss told me at my interview that, had any man wanted that position, even if he couldn’t read, he would have passed him-me over for him. Uh, which really made me excited to work for him. And-uh-but the thing was-how they set it up was the job only guaranteed two hours every two weeks. So, most men when they walked in thought they were going to get a forty hour a week job. That did not happen. Therefore, women were willing to take the, uh, rotating hours. And, um, because we were actually getting benefits and we were getting equal pay for what hours we did work.

Janet Stout

Janet Stout notes the discrimination she faced at the beginning of her career.

Janet Stout: I can tell you that there are some specific examples of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, um, things that-that I tell the younger women these days that happened and they look at me like oh no that didn’t happen. Um, there was, uh, quite a learning curve for everybody involved from the time that they started hiring women, and, um, there was a time when I and three other women did file a, uh, lawsuit because we felt that the promotion, um, process was, uh—was, uh, not being fairly applied so that’s-that document is out there, it went to, it was, uh, filed in district court so—yes, there um, there are a lot of things that happened that shouldn’t have happened. There are a lot of things that happened that were very consistent with what was happening with other women, um—our society, um, didn’t learn as quickly as-as I would have liked them to, and myself too.

Judy Beard

Judy Beard talks about pay equity issues.

Judy Beard: I became a shop steward in the postal service and I had an opportunity to then look at the whole system and the ladies that were working and it was obvious, very obvious as it is today, that in the postal service, within the bargaining unit position, that the men basically make more money than the women. That the men are able to obtain jobs as mechanics, as electronic technicians, as truck drivers, and the women just didn’t have those skills in order to pass the tests in order to get those jobs. And now today, is somewhat different. Because you can find some women mechanics and you can find some women electronic technicians and some women truck drivers. And there has been programs to teach women how to pass the tests to get those jobs.

Dianne Williams

Dianne Williams talks about discrimination she faced from within the service as well as from customers.

Dianne Williams: I’ve been in situations where I’ve had them to tell me well they just don’t think this job is for a woman. And you know, that’s even in the post office itself, guys would take the position, that different positions are not for women. And I think it’s more with the older generation than with the younger generation.

Georgia Rucker

Georgia Rucker remembers being passed over for male co-workers.

Georgia Rucker: One of the things that I learned was, because I was a woman, I was overlooked in becoming a supervisor. And overlooked for being paid as a supervisor although I was the active supervisor for years. And the males, who had, like, only acted three or four months, were receiving pay as a supervisor. And I had been doing it for two years and had never received pay. And facility manager in charge told me he just never thought about it. He said he knew I was doing the job and he just never occurred to him to pay me.