Women Leaders and Activists
Experiences of Women Leaders and Activists as told by CGCC Students in partnership with Chandler Museum's Public History Program
Discuss the role of being a woman in your leadership/activism.

Narrator: Linda B. Rosenthal
Interviewer: Meredith Miller

MM: In your community, what were the advantages of being a woman? And were there any disadvantages or obstacles you had to overcome?

LBM: Let's go first to the disadvantages. When I ran for the legislature in 1978, on the back of my literature said that I was married and have 3 children. The question asked when I campaigned door to door, some folks would ask, 'Who's taking care of the kids?' 'Aren't you neglecting the children?' They had finished school by that time and sure, I am out there running for the legislature, but there were other issues. I am a feminist. I believe in equality for men and women and I happen to be pro-choice, firmly. I do not go and put a big sign on me but that is my belief and when asked about, it I will respond in an appropriate situation. It is not appropriate for Maricopa, we do not do anything in that area but in the legislature you do. Just because it is a hot issue, and the ERA was a hot issue in '78 and yes, I believe in it and still do because women are not in the constitution, damn it! And so there was that hype, so sometimes a disadvantage. Other times women even, older women of that time; in '78 I was a lot younger, 33 years old actually--I am going to be 73 years old, so that is a long time ago. Women, old women liked the idea of women needing to get out there because men haven't been doing such a great job. So it was good to see women [running for the legislature]. Some women that get into that position do not want to help other women along. They have the Queen Bee syndrome. 'I am here; I don't want to help anyone else get up here.' There are still plenty of people who are like that. People do not understand that there is plenty of room for another brain, for another worker bee, that is does not have to be only one. So there are pluses and minuses of being a woman.

Narrator: Terry Saba
Interviewer: Blair Kowalinski

BK: In any of your community efforts, what were the advantages of being a woman?
Were there any disadvantages/obstacles?

TS: Being the first woman on the school board, I think I had a little different view of things.

On the school board, yes, I believe there were disadvantages or obstacles I had to overcome. It was new having a woman on the board, I don't remember so well, but a principal or two may have had different feelings because I was a woman; they didn't think I was capable.

Narrator: Cynthia Dunham
Interviewer: April Rigler

AR: In any of your community efforts, what were the advantages of being a woman? Were there any disadvantages/obstacles?

CD: I can listen. I have a softer approach, not all women do. That is me. I like to learn first and then open my mouth, which has been my strategy. I am approachable and so that was also a benefit. Folks are intimated enough to deal with the mayor, but because of my personality it seemed to be not quite so austere. Women are not as respected, I had to work harder. Sometimes that friendliness and my own approachability was misinterpreted as weakness. In no way am I a weak person.

Narrator: Susan Bachus
Interviewer: Jacey Henderson

JH: In any of your community efforts with Mahnah Club and Child Crisis Center, what were the advantages of being a woman? Were there any disadvantages or obstacles?
SB: Some of the obstacles would be that we have had some businesses that did not take us seriously when we were trying to get them involved. It seemed like men especially thought we were just doing this to pass our time.

Narrator: Mary Tucker
Interviewer: Cara O'Dowd

CO: What advantages or disadvantages did you have in the women's right to choose movement being a woman?
MT: Simply being able to truly understand and to speak about our own bodies. Not that the men couldn't be sympathetic, but it's not the same as a woman having control over her own body. It's very frustrating that the other side is so dominated by males. I faced some obstacles being a woman too--not being taken seriously because I was a woman. When I was presenting on abortion, I was being serious and had a serious agenda, and some guys would be coming on to me instead of listening to me and what I had to say.

Photos courtesy of the families.

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Linda B. Rosenthal

Terry Saba

Cynthia Dunham