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Promotion? No, You’ll Just Have Babies and Leave

My husband and I moved to Minnesota and I needed a job. I was in my early 20’s and this was the 1960’s. I started in the Housing Rehabilitation Department at my first housing authority as a secretary. In 1963, women were pretty much relegated to secretarial jobs, unless you had a degree; then you might get a job as a housing manager in a housing authority. I had two years of college at that time, and therefore only qualified for a secretarial job.

I kept getting “other duties as assigned” and became more of an administrative assistant (in job duties only — not title). When the job of administrative assistant for our department was posted — the job that I was actually doing — I applied, and my boss recommended me for the position.

I was brought down to the executive offices, all excited because I was sure they were going to offer me the job, but I was told that higher positions in that department really weren’t for women because, historically, women got pregnant and left — and I didn’t get the job. I trained the man who got the job, but it was hard to keep my heart in my work. It just wasn’t the same. But that was life in the 1960’s.

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