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Sarah Weddington participates in a 1992 debate with Phyllis Schlafly. Ann Richards campaigns for Travis county commissioner. way that is not filtered through age, ethnicity or culture. I don’t think any of those categories is more important than the basic issue of womanhood,” she says. Still, Garcia also grew up dealing with the pressing issue of ethnic discrimination. According to family lore, Garcia’s maternal grandfather had to storm into the school system in South Texas to demand his children be educated in the Anglo schools. “He may or may not have been armed,” Garcia says. “I think it’s very possible, since he did have a shotgunand since he did get his children into the Anglo school.” Sarah Weddington, 64, who argued Roe v. Wade, acknowledges that the women’s movement didn’t reach all racial and socioeconomic groups of women. “But it wasn’t from an absence of good will on our part,” she says. “We tried to get more diversity. But some women did feel more pulled by the civil rights movement. We understood that.” Many Texas women of my generation, though, were inspired by the women’s movement, by the ideals that women should be able to choose to work and be paid equally. It changed many of our lives. Paula James, who grew up in the West Texas town of Littlefield, recalls her anger at a high school teacher who marked her answer wrong about universal suffrage being attained after black men were given the vote with the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “She said it didn’t matter that women couldn’t vote,” James said, still indignant. “We still had universal suffrage, even without women.” During the first stirrings of the women’s movement, when she began to read Friedan and other feminist writers, “It really set me on fire,” says James, 66, a retired family lawyer and mediator. “It made me feel for the first time that I wasn’t deficientit was the system that was deficient and wrong.” 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 Vivian Castleberry, 87, was one of the women who showed us the way. Refusing to go home and retire gracefully when the men returned from World War II, she persisted and had a Dallas Times Herald. Sarah Weddington went to UT law school at a time when some professors wouldn’t call on women in class and law firms wouldn’t fly them to interviews. Nearly a decade younger, Sherry Smith, 56, counted herself as a feminist from her high school years onand watched opportunities open for women in careers and higher education in the early 197os that hadn’t been available even a few years earlier. “My options were very different from friends who came of age in the early sixties,” says Smith, who owns an Austin marketing firm. “The women’s movement opened up new worlds to women my age:’ For ambitious Texas women not mired in poverty, options were cracking open at a dizzying clip. In the ‘6os and ‘7os, “We were making so much progress so quickly,” Vivian Castleberry says. “I would have thought we would have wrapped up total equality in six months with both hands tied behind our backs.” “The right wing has done a great job of giving feminists the reputation of being ballbusters and castrating bitches. The movement’s been turned into something destructive. Civil rights, for example, was never turned into something destructive the way the women’s movement has.” Paula James Thirty years ago, Gloria Steinem predicted that a black man would be elected president before a woman and no one believed her. Sexism is pervasive, subtle and enormously powerful in our society, says Paula