Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Sherwood Smith, March 23, 1999. Interview I-0079. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Women enter North Carolina workforce

Smith discusses the entry of women into North Carolina's workforce, and sees the growing labor market as the primary pull factor.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Sherwood Smith, March 23, 1999. Interview I-0079. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

SS: With regard to women in the workforce, and the numbers of women coming in in the workforce, and the opportunities for them in the ‘60s and ‘70s and up through today, I think we saw several things happen. Number one, I think we saw -- for a variety of reasons -- women were more available to work outside the home. I’d like to say that’s all because of electricity -- because of all the things that electricity could do that had to be done by manual labor -- but there are many other things that contributed to that, and so we had women who were available. These women were as intelligent and as skilled as men. Then secondly, I think there was sort of a social awakening that -- whether it was the result of the turmoil that we had socially in the ‘60s or not -- there were barriers to entry that had been developed in society. Perhaps they developed for what might be thought of as logical reasons at the time, that simply were unfair. They were restrictive and prevented women from having the opportunities for education. But, I really think that the catalyst there, more than anything else, was the growing exciting, dynamic economy that we had that we needed talented people. Here were talented people. Why not educate them and put them to work and give them opportunities? That’s happened.