Megan Haught: For “Make No Mistake, Florida is Crucial” Senator Lori Wilson and Equal Rights Amendment talk being presented by Dr. Kimberly Voss, from the Nicholson School of Communication. Housekeeping for this presentation as we ask that you keep your microphones muted and your cameras off during the presentation. If you have a question you would like to ask Dr. Voss, please put it post it into the chat and I will address it to her once she’s finished the presentation.
And Dr. Voss is you know, one of our favorite speakers, she’s done presentations for us multiple times for Women’s History Month.
00:38 - She’s a full professor of journalism with the UCF Nicholson School of Communication. Her research interests include women in media, journalism history and social media. She recently finished her latest book, Newspaper Fashion Editors and the Rise of the Fashion Industry in the 1950s and 60s, Women Writers on the, women writers on the, Runway, she’s currently working on a book about Dallas woman’s page editor, Vivian Castleberry, as well as an oral history project with retired newspaper food editors.
Dr. Voss, would you like to get started. Kimberly Voss: Yes, please. So I’m so happy to be able to speak about Lori Wilson and the Equal Rights Amendment with you today.
01:19 - I love women’s history. And so Women’s History Month in March is my favorite time of the year. But what I think is especially important about the ERA, and Lori Wilson is how important it still is today, we still don’t have an equal rights amendment.
01:33 - And when we get to the end, I’ll talk a little bit more about that. Because it really is something that’s continued to be debated. And I think at a bare minimum, we need to think about women’s rights in the Constitution. Now more than ever, and so I think the ERA helps us with that. I’m guessing if you’re from Florida, and you’re watching this, you’re familiar with Lori Wilson, because of her park, over in the Cocoa Beach area. And she was so significant when she was in the Florida Senate, in the 1970s.
But she really became very much a private citizen after that. And so the role that she played in the Equal Rights Amendment nationally and in Florida is often overlooked. So I’m very happy to be able to talk about her today. So if you aren’t familiar with the Equal Rights Amendment, I wanted to make sure that I at least put this up today. It doesn’t seem very radical. If you look at it, the equality of rights under the law, Congress have the power.
02:44 - This amendment Shall take effect two years. None of this seems that radical, but at the time, when we talk about the late 60s, into the 1970s, it really was considered a very controversial, matter which side you were on, it was a great idea, a horrible idea. But this idea of equality of rights is something that again, hasn’t gone away, we still discuss these things. When we talk about gender rights, it sometimes feels odd, I think some times in the last few decades.
But to think about what women did or didn’t have in the 1960s, and 1970s, which was kind of the height of what I’m going to talk about today. Married women couldn’t have their own credit cards. They could not sign a mortgage or a lease. In Florida, they couldn’t sit on juries in the 1960s. And so there was this idea of equality was incredibly important. So that was silly, as we’ll talk about some of the fights about it. But this is still something that is important.
Some legal scholars have said that the 14th amendment gives women rights. In other words, you don’t need an ERA because of the 14th amendment. But other legal scholars, and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia also said that the 14th amendment doesn’t give women equal rights. It’s probably the only thing that he and I agree on. But it’s why we still need to kind of talk about that.
04:29 - Section two here, Congress will have the power. Part of the question there have to do with the federal government versus states rights. And I think, you know, we’ve seen so much of that and we talked about to the virus or closing schools or wearing masks. It’s this this kind of dynamic between what the federal government says we should do and what states say we should do or could do. The third part is in some ways, the most significant to talk about the ERA.
So here, this amendment Shall take effect two years after the date of ratification. And, of course, this goes back decades now. And many legal scholars have said because of changes to the Constitution in the 80s, that section three doesn’t really have the staying power. In others, we could still do something about that at this point. It’s hard to as I mentioned at the beginning to talk about the ERA in Florida without talking about, Lori Wilson if can tell from this picture, she was quite attractive.
And that made her significant in terms of media coverage. Because many have compared her to kind of Gloria Steinem in that she could be for the ERA which was considered kind of anti-feminine, but also be very camera ready. One of the things I loved about Lori is that she always wore a white suit, going back to the suffragettes of previous years. So she would wear this white suit when she went throughout the state of Florida to talk about the significance of the Equal Rights Amendment because she was the main sponsor.
Just to give you a little bit of background about Lori, Governor Kirk, in 1969, appointed Wilson to fill a vacancy on the Brevard County Commission. She was the first woman in the state to receive this kind of gubernatorial appointment. She was elected to a full term on the commission in 1970. She was elected commission chair in ‘72, the first woman in our state to have that position. In November of 1972, she was elected to the Florida Senate, she was just the third woman in our state to be elected to that position, and the very first independent to serve in the legislature’s upper house.
She was reelected in 1974, and served until 1978. At this point, she did not have any political experience other than some volunteer work. She had moved to Florida, from the Carolinas, when she got married, she had two young children. She later was a divorcee, which was kind of a big deal at the time that a woman would run for office with that as knowledge.
07:34 - So again, just some background from Florida ERA. The proposal was before the Florida Senate for the first time in ‘74. It failed by a vote of 21 to 19. The action of the House failed by 64 to 54. Try it again in ‘77. And it failed again. Now, at this point, we needed a certain number of states to be approved. And so Florida was considered significant which goes back to the title of my talk was that if Florida would pass this legislation, the rest of the other states in the south would and it was they overestimated and underestimated Florida in many ways.
So when I looked at what I’m talking about today, I looked at the Miami Herald coverage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. At that point in time, the Miami Herald was a statewide newspaper. I also looked the raw data from the New Directions for News study was housed at the University of Missouri. And so what they did in the New Direction for News in the 1980s was look back at all the coverage of the ERA from across the country. And so I looked specifically at what Florida newspapers and some national media outlets had to say about Florida in the ERA.
I just looked at television news clips from the the Vanderbilt University Television Archives, as well as the Tallahassee Democrat just be able to give some kind of comparison that I’ll talk to you about. So some more, brief background, delivered that way women’s liberation movement in 1963 is when the Feminine Mystique was published, Betty Friedan, who really questioned what women’s roles were and why women should be happy about being in the home and have their their value as wives or mothers rather than being in the workforce, or club work that was common for middle class and upper class women at the time.
It is worth saying that the Feminine Mystique was pretty much only reviewed in the women’s pages of newspapers. So in other words, this was about women reading the book rather than it being pushed out in many books sections which are common at the time. 1968 with the protests at the Miss America Pageant, this idea that, again, women’s appearances were the only thing that matters versus what they were actually doing. And the March for Equality 1970, which is sometimes called the strike for equality.
And the idea here is we’ll talk about marches coming up with that women were taking out a public role, questioning what the role was in society. And this kind of laid a foundation for kind of what happened in Florida with the Equal Rights Amendment because there was this awakening, if you will, or understanding about women’s roles. And the things that were standing in their way, as I mentioned, the inability to have a credit card or be able to rent an apartment.
So media coverage, as a journalism professor, is based on news values. And those kinds of things that make news are based on things that are kind of not the norm, if you will. So one of the examples with our journalism students, if traffic is going just fine, it’s not a story, there’s a horrible accident, or something happens that we get stuck in traffic, that becomes a story. So news values are based on some very specific ideas. And so one of the things that’s important about looking at the ERA in Florida and Lori Wilson are the marches, the protest, and the speeches.
And part of this is because often the women who are involved and some men, um, they had name value. And so they were going to be covered for that part. But the idea of protest, marches, things that made good photos or good television, also were significant. And that also helped me study what had happened. So here, for example, is a photo of one of the marches. In the center here, kind of where the the sign goes down, is a woman by the name of Roxy Bolton.
And she was quite significant in pushing the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida, she was also one of the first members of NOW, the National Organization for Women, in Florida. And she had several children. And so she pushed for the Equal Rights Amendment as a family issue. And as I’ll explain to you today, the idea of family and the Equal Rights Amendment, both sides kind of tried to use that argument in different ways. But this idea of marching and going out in public and fighting for equal rights, it was really significant.
This was not a time where necessarily lots of women had been arguing for equal rights or looking for this. Now, of course, this does come out of the 1960s, right, where we did have protests, the burning of draft cards, um, you know, I mentioned to you earlier, this, this 1968, Miss America pageant, well, that’s where the rumor about burning bras came from, no one ever burned a bra, you had to have a permit in New Jersey, to be able to burn anything.
And so that never actually happened. But those kind of myths kind of led to this idea of the angry woman, and the family woman. And that was a big part of what media coverage chose. And again, this is not like an on purpose that someone sat around thinking about this. But in looking at the coverage, it was a big part of what media scholars call the catfight. If two women or two groups of women are fighting with each other, eh, no one can decide what the answer is.
And they can kind of move on. But these were the kinds of things were happening throughout Florida about the Equal Rights Movement and and other places across the country. On the other hand, you had women that were definitely anti-ERA. And there was a lot of coverage, go back to my previous photo of, you know, these women who were very aggressive, if you will, very assertive. And then you had, what kind of media coverage was the nice woman.
So these were women that were consistently wearing skirts at a time were wearing pants was considered a little bit outrageous, in many, many workforce, and political arenas, and this idea that these women were fighting about. And again, this is the catfight idea, right that two women, two sets of women are fighting. This idea was that if you were for the ERA, you were against traditional roles for women. So if you said that you were pro-ERA or anti-family.
Another example the idea of the ERA that this side we talk about was that there would be male playboy bunnies, and that women would be forced to play football. So there was this kind of dynamic that was very female based about which side you were on. And again, this is in Florida. One of my favorite quotes came from a political think tank. Make no mistake about it. Florida is crucial as far as it goes, so does South Carolina. And that would prove for the momentum in Illinois.
Of course, Florida never does pass it. But it is interesting, I found in looking at this research that one Florida was considered the deep south in some ways. Because, you know, it’s often been said, the further north you go in Florida, the further south you get. So Florida was complicated. In that way, they were not they didn’t have the history that the deep south traditionally had about gender roles. Now, the passage in Illinois was mentioned because Phyllis Schlafly was kind of the the leader of the anti-ERA.
And if you’re interested in this topic at all, I highly recommend the Hulu series Mrs. America, which largely puts Phyllis Schlafly at the center of the anti-ERA. One of my favorite things about that show was that the women from Illinois, the anti-ERA women, she was from Alton, Illinois, which is just over the border from Missouri, just outside of St. Louis. So she and her colleagues drove up to Chicago, and gave away bread, under the theory that women should be in the home in the kitchen making bread.
And many of the people got sick because their bread was so bad. So not everything worked out for Phyllis, even though in many ways she ultimately won.
17:02 - And I should mention, Phyllis died recently, last couple years. And since then, Illinois did pass the ERA after her death. So here’s a photo from the archives of the Stop ERA.
17:19 - And part of what happened, if you look at the images that were in the media at the time, is you had these very serious ERA women. And a lot of the images for pro-ERA. Women in tie dye kind of out their hair. And so a lot of what happened was just simply putting reasonable serious women against frivolous women in terms of the images of the time. And again, although this was Florida, it became a national issue, because the theory was that if Florida went so would South Carolina and some other southern states.
Have another parade. The National Organization for Women, who again, in the state of Florida, was Roxy Bolton out of Miami. And so there was this was a very media heavy image. It made for good TV, for good newspaper.
18:19 - You’ll notice there and kind of the middle of that is a sign for Alan Alda, who, if you don’t know was a very famous actor, M*A*S*H and other things back in the day back when there’s only so many shows you could watch at a given time before cable. And it was interesting and looking at the media coverage, how many celebrities came to Florida to talk about pro-ERA? Interestingly, there was a lot of people pro-ERA, it was really only Phyllis and a handful of her colleagues that ever came to Florida to kind of give the other side.
And of course, that’s always the challenge in media coverage, right is one side for one side against where they almost seem equal, even though there were polls and surveys and other things that showed that it was not one side or the other. Most folks were actually pro-ERA. Phyllis Schlafly came down to Miami to speak at one point in time. And one of this kind of scare tactics, if you will, was if the ERA passed then there would not be separate bathrooms, which of course we’ve seen in recent years talking about gay and trans rights.
This idea that you have to be scared of bathrooms. And one of one of the people that she debated against, asked Phyllis who had several children, if she had separate bathrooms in her house based on gender for her kids and she was silenced in that moment. As I mentioned, there were a lot of celebrities that came down. And again, this caused media coverage. This is Marlo Thomas, who of course, was famous TV personality in her day. And she spoke out quite a bit about the ERA, she visited Florida several times.
It was lots of big turnout. And again, we didn’t see that on the other side, you don’t see a lot of information having to do with celebrities that were anti-ERA, you had a few local folks. And again, Phyllis, of course, but this discussion about what women’s role should be treated as if, you know, it was one side versus the other. But it certainly didn’t seem that way based on who came to speak, based on the debates, and based on surveys of the time.
So there was a, as I mentioned, there was quite a bit of anti-ERA paperwork, propaganda, if you will, that existed at the time. So this headline here, you can’t fool Mother Nature. That was a big part of the pushback from the conservative side against the Equal Rights Amendment. And this again, this idea that women weren’t gonna play football men are gonna be playboy bunnies. We won’t know who’s in charge of a family and doing this, that or the other was pretty common.
And so several of these things on the slide, which came again, from the anti-ERA group, just weren’t right. So if you look here, ERA will hurt the family, the ERA will invalidate all state laws which require a husband to support his wife in a divorce. And that simply was not true. Another kind of common scare tactic was about the draft. If the ERA passes, then women will have to leave their families, leave their children and go fight abroad.
And again, this is going back to the 1970s. Of course, none of that has ever happened right since then. But these scare tactics were repeated over and over again. You’ll notice here that the ERA will compel states to set up tax payer financed childcare centers. Well, this was a time where there were a lot of news stories that if a woman worked outside of the home, her children would become criminals. I mean, this was in the newspaper.
And there were government sponsored studies that showed this. I found this especially interesting in in listening to President Biden last night talk about funding for childcare, right? I mean, in some ways, we’ve come so far, in talking about the ERA in the 1970s till now, although again, we still don’t have a passed Equal Rights Amendment in our country. I also like this quote from Senator Wilson, during a long history of struggle. They’re talking about concrete, there’s methods that inspire patience.
And that was a big thing that was a challenge for the pro Equal Rights Amendment women. This idea of marching, the idea of protesting, writing editorials speaking to the press, were really considered that these women were very angry, and they certainly weren’t feminine pro-family. They didn’t care about their country, you know, their place should be in the home, that sort of thing. And Lori, really pushed hard across the state in the national news to talk about this issue.
And of course, as I mentioned, she was a divorced mother of two.
23:40 - She had struggles. She eventually married the head of the Gannett company. Gannett is the newspaper chain that puts out USA Today, Florida Today, many other newspapers. And so even after she was out of office, she spent a lot of time talking about women’s roles. She actually spoke to executives in her husband’s company to encourage the hiring of women at a time that didn’t happen. I think it’s worth mentioning, in terms of media coverage, how few women were in decision making media posts at the time.
After a series of lawsuits, women were finally hired in bigger numbers, at newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, not until the 1970s so when you have these women like Lori, talking to reporters, they probably weren’t talking to women. If they did that news stayed in the women’s section, so it’s not something that men would have read about.
24:43 - Because a woman’s pages was of course considered things that only pertain to women. But Lori really pushed hard. When I look back at her speeches, which I was able to find the archives she, she made excellent points and really push hard and again was kind of a very media savvy kind of lady in her own right and because of her marriage. And so she did really have a significant position throughout the 1970s. It’s worth mentioning that several men were also helpful for the Equal Rights Amendment, not in the same numbers as women.
But Roxie Bolton’s husband started a group for men who wanted to push for the Equal Rights Amendment. And so there were some men that you would find, but more often than not, it was treated as this catfight concept. These women can’t get along. They can’t decide what they want. Lots of media stories where the reporter would find a woman that was like, I don’t want equal rights, and that kind of became the lead. But there were lots of protests that did involve at least a few men and looking at the photos.
25:59 - So again, this, oops, this did get media coverage across the country. This picture right here shows Lori Wilson crying after the ERA doesn’t pass. And this photo was used so often that it just seems so gendered. Said you have the crying woman, right, who doesn’t get what she wanted, who fought so hard, and didn’t get the votes to go her way. And just kind of looking back at broadcast coverage. So the ABC News had less than a minute of coverage about the Florida ERA, CBS did 3.
5 minutes, NBC did five minutes, and did include Wilson. In one of the histories of the ERA in Florida, it was noted that when the TV cameras would come in, they would focus on Loi, and every time that she would speak, you would hear this background noise of all the cameras. Because this idea that she was so camera perfect for making an argument, in the same way that Gloria Steinem often gets credit for being feminine and being the person that could kind of lead the fight, that she wasn’t a man-hater or negative in that way.
So some ope, sorry, some further material and I will send this onto the library. I wrote about the Florida fight for equality in the Florida Historical Quarterly, with lots of the photos that we showed today and that I spoken about where I kind of took apart what the mediated argument was.
27:40 - Because so much I think of what these women are fighting for has kind of gone away now like I, it would be interesting to have a nice debate about the Equal Rights Amendment today, and it does happen periodically in the Florida Legislature. But this idea that, you know, bathrooms and alimony and the draft like all these things have been accomplished. But yet there’s still a place for having an amendment to our constitution that give women equal rights.
The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg often gave talks, it said that we are the only country in the modern world that doesn’t have something like that in our Constitution. And I figured if she thinks so, I do, too. I also spoke about Senator Lori Wilson and the ERA for Florida Frontiers, which is a radio show from the Florida Historical Society. And I’ll be forwarding that on too, to be able to share a little bit more about Lori. I will conclude before questions.
28:52 - A little bit more about Lori Wilson. So Lori Wilson left state government in the 1970s. She ended up divorcing the Gannett exec Al Newerth. After that, she went on to get a law degree. But she didn’t really have a very public roll. I was thinking about her a few years ago, in 2019, and searched to see kind of what had happened to her. She died in 2019. There was no funeral. This was of course pre-COVID. There was no funeral.
29:30 - There was no real recognition, recognition of her and I think in women’s history months, it’s incredibly important to talk about these women that don’t get recognition, don’t get discussion don’t kind of have their place. Yes, she’s got a very nice park, but I don’t know if people really understand how significant Senator Wilson is. So I’m open for some questions or I can keep talking but at that, stop and ask for some questions.
29:59 - Megan Haught: Richard’s added a comment about a book we’ve got as part of the New Book Display called Looking for America, or Looking for Miss America: a pageant’s 100 year quest to define womanhood.
30:11 - Kimberly Voss: Oh, that’s cool. Megan Haught: Yeah. And it’s in the new white wavy shelves by the Student Union entrance.
30:18 - Kimberly Voss: Awesome. Megan Haught: And I had a couple of thoughts for with the draft because that has come up recently, I’ve seen in the news, when people say, Oh, we have to start adding women to the draft.
30:27 - And I do wonder about it as being an out of date concept, because we’ve had an all volunteer army for almost 40 years now. So why do we still have the draft in place? Warfare has changed tremendously, since the Vietnam era. So but it seems to still be used as like a scare tactic.
30:51 - Kimberly Voss: Right? Exactly. Um, so when I looked at kind of like the seven reasons for, you know, why the ERA shouldn’t pass. None of them really hold up today. And of course, the other part, I think of talking about the military and talking about the draft just overall is a concept that was used against women in the military who wanted to go into combat. So the whole idea was the women who did want, you know, not the draft necessarily, but women in the military that wanted to go into combat.
The anti-ERA arguments were used against them to prevent them from doing the thing that they wanted to do, right, or race, you know, having that experience to get promoted to raise to the ranks, you know, that that sort of thing, it is almost jarring to see how those scare tactics have been eliminated. But yet, having the ERA has not happened. In fact, some states have tried to rescind their positive ERA votes.
31:54 - Megan Haught: Oh, wow. Kimberly Voss: Yeah. So it’s kind of creepy. So, you know, after these, these positive votes in the 1970s, some state legislatures have tried to rescind that. But I believe every governor has said no. So even though they’re trying. But again, I think if you have Supreme Court Justice, saying we need it, saying that the 14th amendment does not protect women for equal issues. I do think it’s something that’s worth discussing.
I’ve been in Florida now for more than 12 years. And it’s come up almost every year still in our legislature. It’s also worth mentioning that of course, we didn’t pass a woman’s right to vote either. Until we symbolically did it 19 in the late 1960s. So, you know if we have a complicated relationship with gender and power and legislation in our state, but this, this push keeps happening, you know, it’s not an old story.
32:53 - Megan Haught: I’ve seen it pop up multiple times. Richard just commented sharing information on another book, about opposing dress codes in the ERA fight and its called Dressing for the Culture Wars: style in the politics of self presentation in the 1960s and 70s. And it’s an ebook available at UCF Libraries.
33:15 - Kimberly Voss: Oh, my goodness, I’ve never heard of that. But I’m gonna be looking at it up after that something for sure.
33:19 - And that’s one of the things I teach my journalism history class. One of the women I study she had, she was the publisher, which is pretty much the top job you can get. And one of the first women in the country, one of the first things she did, when she got that position was changed the editorial policy to her newspaper to be pro-ERA and allow women to wear pants. That was in the mid 80s, there was a rule that the women at the newspaper could not wear pants.
So these things that you know, sometimes I think it feels old, because you know, particularly now, because we go to the store in our sweat pants, or pajama pants or whatever, we barely get dressed up. But these are things that are not that long ago. And it was almost always women that fought for themselves as well as others for these reasons. I mean, the ability to wear what you want it to do, particularly when you’re a reporter, and you might be chasing down a source.
34:18 - The idea that you might be in a very physically challenging environment, and you weren’t allowed to wear pants. It seems jarring, but that was the mid 80s.
34:30 - Megan Haught: And I still see that pop up today. I’ve seen people in administrative positions, broken a toe still standing there in four inch stilettos because it’s expected that they’re in a suit and high heels. Women still face a lot of judgment about if they’re not wearing makeup. Oh, they’re sick or they’re not putting any effort out and it affects promotion.
34:52 - Kimberly Voss: Yes. Well and and you know, that was a big thing that these women were fighting. As I mentioned, the burning bras concept was actually was called a freedom can. In ‘68, the Miss America pageant, and what they were tossing in, there was mascara and curling irons, the whole purpose of what they were trying to say, even though it got reduced to burning a bra.
35:10 - The whole concept overall is why women had to go through that when men didn’t. And what happens to you, if you reject a very traditional, feminine concept, I sometimes look at what these women wrote and just think they were decades ahead of their time. We can still talk about it today. But many of them, you know, were criticized, had difficult lives because of what they said, or never kind of got mainstream acceptance because they were pushing against the status quo.
35:41 - Megan Haught: Peggy MacDonald mentioned, “the cat fight concept is powerful. This reminds me of the mommy wars video features in recent recent years. ” And she thanks you for having a fantastic, fascinating discussion, as always, Kimberly Voss: Peggy’s awesome. Um, but you know, this, this has been a, it seems simplistic, but it’s very powerful. If two sets of women are fighting it aloud and again, this was all men in the news media. So this was back, you know, we only have three networks to watch the evening news to get national news.
It was these three white men. And their basic promise and in watching all the media clips was, well, if the women don’t know what they want, what can we do about it? So focusing on the fight meant let’s not look at the issues. It was about the conflict, if you will, if we focus on the conflict, we don’t have to talk about things like, you know, it’s not really true that women wouldn’t get alimony if they got divorced. And frankly, at that time, lots of men just left the family and the woman had to work anyway.
So it wasn’t always a, you know, even that simplistic. What, you know, women will do in the military, bathrooms, equal pay, all those kinds of things that were important, were often not discussed, as long as the media covered was about women fighting.
37:06 - Megan Haught: And I know there are definitely examples you can find with other things like the Black Lives Matter movement and how it’s covered in media, that they follow similar patterns in coverage.
37:16 - Kimberly Voss: Exactly. I mean, the number of times since I originally wrote, studied this concept and wrote about it, you see consistently. And the challenge is, of course, how do we get beyond just the conflict? The March, the protests, because yes, that is the easiest thing to coverage. As a journalist, right, I can cover that easily. I can put my camera, I can take pictures. But why are those marches and protests happening? That’s the harder part.
And it’s especially difficult, I think, for television reporters, when you’re trying to do a story in 60 or 90 seconds. How do you get to the you know what I mean? That the details of that. But when we don’t do that we see the same concepts repeat and talking about the protests and the marches for Black Lives Matter, you could easily use some of the same concepts that happened in Florida for the ERA back in the 1970s.
38:18 - Megan Haught: Does anybody else have any other questions or comments they’d like to add? You can also raise your hand and I’ll have you unmute yourself. The moment I’m not seeing anything else, do you know of any other works if somebody wants to read more on Lori Wilson, where we might be able to find that.
38:36 - Kimberly Voss: Other than the stuff that I’ve kind of worked on, um, she does have an official biography with the Florida senate Senate Office. But as I mentioned, the hard part was is that she kind of disappears by the 1980s. And so she didn’t even get a funeral, even though she was so significant. Um, so I will continue writing about her. Um, I think that if folks keep an eye out for the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida, it will continue to be an issue.
Oh, I’ll also say one more thing. If you’ve been to Jetty Park, Lori Wilson was the one that fought for the funding for Jetty Park over in the Cocoa area. So whether it’s the Equal Rights Amendment, what she did for Florida Parks and Recreation, she was this person that really made a difference that I think it’s forgotten.
39:30 - Megan Haught: And Richard added “it’s dangerous to draw historical parallels. But are there similary similarities with the fight for the ERA and the passage of the 19th amendment?” Kimberly Voss: In some ways, it was much more hostile for the 19th amendment. women getting the right to vote. I think it’s worth mentioning. It took 75 years for women to get the right to vote. That’s a long long time. And so I teach a journalism history class at UCF.
And we look back at how women who fought for the right to vote were portrayed. They were often portrayed as being ugly and angry and hating men. I mean, there’s a certain parallel there, it was worse than by far.
40:20 - But considering that the Equal Rights Amendment first came in front of Congress in 1923, it took a long time. And of course, we don’t even have it yet. You know, we’re coming up really, on 100 years of trying to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed.
40:38 - So it’s actually longer than it took women to get the right to vote. But the parallels are often there. I do think that the arguments from the 1970s don’t hold water today. And so I hope that we get some more media coverage that explores the complexity, because you know, a lot of the arguments back then just don’t hold water today. And if, as I said, if we have people like Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on opposite ends of the political spectrum, both agreeing that the 14th amendment doesn’t give women equal rights.
I think it’s worth having that debate again.
41:19 - Megan Haught: Shelley Hall, thanks you for the presentation.
41:22 - And she said she really enjoyed your passion and information on the topic.
41:26 - Kimberly Voss: Thank you. Megan Haught: You were mentioning like with some of the old 70s arguments, I noticed the one at the very bottom was would allow, and it was in quotes, homosexuals, to get married and adopt children. Like, yeah, we’re already good there. That’s Yeah, yes. And most states, whatever. I don’t mean children is an issue of some states.
41:49 - Kimberly Voss: adoption, right, unfortunately. But Supreme Court agreed right with what these women were trying to do. And again, that’s, to me, that’s another example of how ahead of the times these women were. And by even saying that, you know, it was a lot of pushback. It was very angry at them. And so much of what people were afraid of, again, we’ve lived through things and have been just fine. So it seems that if those are the reasons not to do it, I’d like to know the reasons today that this isn’t being passed.
And if all these other aggressive, modern countries, it’s part of their constitution.
42:30 - It’s hard for me to imagine why it’s not in ours.
42:34 - Megan Haught: I noticed Richard’s unmuted. Richard, did you want to add anything? Richard Harrison: No, I just wanted to thank Lori, uh, Kimberly for been dealing with a lot of Loris lately. Kim, thank you so much. This has been fascinating. And I didn’t catch the episode from Florida Frontiers. So I will look it up online and listen to that segment.
43:03 - Kimberly Voss: Well, thank you. Thank you for having me. I love talking about Florida women. So this is this means a lot to me too.
43:10 - Megan Haught: And the material you’ve added I’ll include it as links within the STARS page for this once the video is uploaded.
43:19 - And that also on the YouTube channel. For the YouTube channel, there will be closed captions available. And for STARS, we’re going to have open captions burned into the video, because closed captions is an option for us as part of that system.
43:33 - Kimberly Voss: Awesome. And like I said, once we get off here, I will email you links to those two, so you have them.
43:39 - Megan Haught: And for anybody interested, we have all of Kim’s books that are in print at the UCF Libraries. They are part of the UCF Author collection. So I think there’s some on display up on the new fourth floor Reading Room. And I think a couple are still in the ARC.
43:55 - Kimberly Voss: Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
43:57 - Megan Haught: Thank you for joining us. We love having you come into do talks and we hope we can have a bunch more in the future.
44:04 - Kimberly Voss: Sounds great. Happy Women’s History Month.
44:06 - Megan Haught: Happy Women’s History Month, everyone. Thank you for joining us.
44:09 - Kimberly Voss: Thank you. Take care.