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Joyce P., Feminist MAG
"Equal Rights!" screams a woman marching around a parking lot, after being discriminated against because of her gender. Other women parade alongside, shouting for justice. Apprehensive businessmen peek from behind their blinds, wishing the protesters would stop making a scene. The loud roar of police sirens cuts through the air. Police jump from their cars and tell the protesters they are disturbing the peace and read the women their rights. These words are drowned by the screams of the women, who refuse to leave quietly.
In the 1960s this was a normal day for women continuing the fight for equal rights. Joyce Dickerson Price lived through these turbulent times, and fought for the rights that women have today. Born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, she worked in what was considered a male profession in order to prove that she was capable and qualified.
As a woman, do you feel you must put forth extra effort to prove you are as competent as your male counterparts?
I always put forth extra effort in whatever I do, but even today I feel I must compete with the men I work with to prove that I am a capable- or in some cases better - manager. I am an audit manager, a profession still dominated by men. As a result, I am constantly proving myself.
Describe the Women's Rights Movement during the '60s and how it influenced your life.
The '60s was a time of radical change for both women and minorities. We protested for equal rights and opportunities to reach our highest potential. The protests resulted in some positive changes. In1964 President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act was passed in 1972. The Women's Movement had a positive influence on my life. I might not be where I am today if these acts had not been passed.
I would like to note that women made significant contributions to society long before the 1960s. They have participated in shaping history since the beginning, and have been involved in major issues throughout the world.
Who were positive influences in your life?
The most influential people in my life were my parents. My father instilled the values of education and financial security and my mother always impressed upon me the importance of being independent. My minister was also a positive influence during my school years, and, like my parents, stressed the significance of an education and career.
How did you decide to work in a profession that was traditionally male-dominated?
When I graduated from college I began working as an accountant in Washington, D. C. , but after one year my office relocated. I didn't want to leave my family, so I desperately pounded the pavement each day at lunch in search of a new job. I applied for many positions, and was finally hired as an auditor. I started my career in a profession that was only about five percent female. Today there are many more women in auditing -about 40% - but the majority of managers are still men. This indicates that although women have made a lot of progress over the past 25 years, there is still a great deal of work to be done to be accepted as equal.
If you could live your life over, what would you do differently?
I would further my education by obtaining a Master of Business Administration. That was one of my goals when I graduated from college, and I regret not pursuing it. I would also become a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor.
Describe growing up.
Growing up as a female in the '60swas very different from today. We learned how to do "girl" things like sewing and cooking. Girls who planned to have a career took typing so they could become secretaries, or majored in education to become teachers.
Were opportunities denied to you because of your gender?
Yes, opportunities were denied, and continue to be. Many women have not moved into top management because of something known as the "glass ceiling, " which is an artificial barrier based on organizational bias that prevents qualified individuals from advancing to management-level positions.
How has this affected your life?
Being denied opportunities when I know I am qualified and capable is a challenge that makes me more determined to strive for greater heights until I succeed.
Do you have any advice for today's young women?
My advice is to never feel you are inferior or be intimidated because you are female. I would also advise young women to believe in themselves and strive for success. Set your goals high and - with perseverance - those goals will be achieved. All things are possible.