Barbara Vackar


As Interviewed by Jackson Woomer, March 16, 2014

Barbara Vackar: In Her Own Words

I first started lobbying in Texas, and we were trying to get Texas to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. There was a group called the Pink Ladies who wanted to rescind the amendment, and thatís what we were working on, making sure it didnít get rescinded.

A group of us, Sarah Weddington leading the pack, met at the capital one day, and she asked representatives from Business and Professional Women Organization, AAUW, and the League of Women Voters -- about 12 leaders from various womenís organizations sat around the table and discussed the problem that we saw brewing from these women.

So I got appointed head of the organization and my job was to organize all of the people in the various individual organizations under one umbrella.

Back with the ERA, after I worked on the amendment in Texas, Sarah Weddington went to the White House. We were short three states in ratifying the amendment for the whole United States and running out of time. So she asked me come up there and plan strategy on what the White House could do towards ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

So I went out and looked at all the states that had not ratified and identified where I thought we had a chance to ratify. Then I worked with the president and Sarah very closely in contacting the leadership, particularly of Florida, Oklahoma and North Carolina -- talking to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house, I would work with their legislature. And we were not successful.

I was appalled that anybody would be against ERA. It made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I couldnít figure it out. The women who were against it said, ďBut men and women would have to go to the same bathroom.Ē Well you do that on a plane, you know -- you shut the door; you lock it.

I knew Roe v. Wade was before the Equal Rights Amendment came up, so I knew they didnít affect each other very much. Except it was a lot the same women who were supporting Roe v. Wade supported Equal Rights Amendment.

It wasnít until I came to Austin that I felt discriminated against as a woman because I couldnít get credit in my name. Thatís when I started volunteering at the capital, to work on legislation that would help women get credit.

Again, Sarah Weddington was the representative that we worked with in making suggestions to her on what laws needed to be passed. So I mostly tried to get equality for women who were trying to obtain financial credit. I did a lot of volunteer work on helping families in getting credit counseling because we found that with families, a lot of the problems in the family, were that they didnít have enough money. And they didnít know where to get any kind of credit counseling.