Workplace

Title

Workplace

Subject

Workplace, 2016

Description

The twentieth century gave women newfound freedoms that challenged the ideas of womanhood. As technologies advanced and conflicts arose, women were able to show their abilities through a new medium, the workplace. Female employment from the early twentieth century until the 1970s increased almost sixfold.[1] During this time, the greatest increase was seen during World War II. This time is marked by an increased need for manual labor and manufacturing jobs while men were away fighting the war. These jobs were seen as men’s work, and post-war men were able to return to their previous occupations. In many cases, women returned home or into clerical or service work.

Women working outside of their homes in the earlier half of the twentieth century were generally poor and of lower social status. However, as educational opportunities broadened, women’s worldview began to expand. This is seen through their civic engagement, such as: Girl Scouts, Parent-Teacher Association, and nursery schools.[2]

As opportunities grew for woman to learn and invest, it challenged the ideas that women were mentally and physically inadequate. From the early 1900s to the 1970s, many see a shift in the ideas of the role women should play. Women were no longer stuck in their position as service or clerical workers. Instead, the sharpest increase in female employment occurred in the middle-class in professional arena.[3] This is in stark contrast to most women who worked in low-paying, lessor jobs in the earlier 1900s.

Patricia Walker Shaw exemplifies the expanding opportunities for women in the workplace. She was born in Little Rock, AR but considered herself a native Memphian. Patricia’s parents had intentions of shielding her from any discrimination, as an African American and as a woman. She grew up in a tight-knit black community within Little Rock, experiencing little reality regarding the rest of the world’s view of minorities. At the age of 15, Shaw had dreams of following her grandfather’s footsteps in the world of business. She had plans to become a stockbroker. Shaw began going to school at Fisk University in Nashville, TN where she met her current husband and began studying business. After her time at Fisk, Shaw then transferred to the school of business at the University of Michigan and finished her schooling with a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago. After graduating, Patricia Shaw began to seek out jobs within that pertained to her degrees in business.[4]

Business opportunities for women were limited in this era. In an interview Shaw stated that as a black female “there were no opportunities in that day.” [5] Tired of a dead end in her job search, Shaw was forced to look for another profession in social work. In order to find a job in social work at the time, those interested were only required to pass a test. Social work was considered a woman’s job in comparison to various careers in business. Shaw moved back to Nashville while working as a social worker and began to earn her masters in the field. After transferring to school in Memphis, Shaw decided to change career paths once again. Her grandfather’s company, Universal Life Insurance, was a corporation where she believed that her destiny lied. Shaw began working, with her father, for Universal in July of 1966 as a keypunch operator. Through her motivation to pursue a career in the business world and her refusal to acknowledge the world’s view of women as a minority, Shaw progressed in her company relatively fast. After six or seven years of working for Universal, Shaw’s hard work had paid off when she was promoted to become an officer for the company. She then progressed to become a vice president of Universal and then president after her grandfather’s death. Although Patricia Walker Shaw put forth hard work when in school and throughout her younger years, she still faced the discrimination of society when attempting to pursue a career in her dream field, a field that was predominantly white and male. After being forced to succumb to what was accepted, she took advantage of her family’s opportunities and accomplished her dreams as the president of Universal Life Insurance.[6] Considering the discrimination she encountered, Patricia Shaw became a very accomplished businesswoman despite many obstacles she had to endure. Along with being a woman in a male dominated business world, she was also a minority. Dr. E Walker, Shaw’s grandfather, founded Universal Life Insurance in 1923 and Shaw was determined to one day fill the shoes worn by her father and grandfather.[7] However, Shaw was not just given this opportunity; she worked her way up the ladder from the bottom to achieve her goal of one day becoming president of the company. Her work included keypunch operator, clerk and research analyst in Universal’s comptrollers division.[8] Shaw believed that her work as a research analyst and auditor of all the departments in Universal Life helped her succeed tremendously. “It really let me develop an overview and get a real feel for the whole company”.[9] Patricia Shaw soon began to make a name for herself in the business world in Memphis, TN. Patricia Walker Shaw successfully navigated the business world in a racially-divided and gender-conservative Memphis. In 1973 the Memphis City Council approved the Mayor’s appointment of Patricia Shaw to be the first woman in history of MLGW to serve on its board of directors. Mayor Wyeth Chandler said that “Mrs. Shaw had the business background for this position on the board and she seemed to be taking a responsible, concerned approach to board membership”. Shaw’s viewpoints of minority women and business was illustrated through a quote she gave the Memphis Press-Scimitar: “I see myself not representing just so-called minority group, but all people…the bigger issue is human rights”. So, because Shaw lived in an environment that sheltered her from racial and gender inequality, she saw herself equal to men-even white men and she did not let society’s norms stop her from achieving her goals. Shaw, however, also did not turn a blind eye to the issues women were facing during this time. In an interview, Shaw said, “I think it gave me a broad awareness that maybe we were thinking too narrow when we thought that prejudice was just a black problem” .[10] Patricia Shaw served as a board member and president-elect of The National Insurance Association, an organization of minority insurance executives.[11] Then in 1983, Shaw was appointed to be executive president of Universal Life Insurance after her father passed. This position made Shaw one of the nation’s top women executives and she aspired to pass down her knowledge to other aspiring business women.[12]

Another example of women in the workplace is Marilyn Califf. Marilyn Califf was born in Memphis, TN on April 27, 1932.[13] She graduated from Central High School in 1950, and then attended The University of Miami.[14] She then transferred to Memphis State University in 1951.[15] In 1953, she married Leon Herman Califf and had two children with him. She was a stay at home mom until her daughter was ten and then attended the International University of Saltillo in Mexico.[16]In 1970, she began to design quilts, publish quilt patterns and operate a mail order business for quilting supplies and equipment. In 1971, she began the publication of Contemporary Quilts Catalog for Quilt designs and patterns.[17] She was awarded in 1972 for her quilts at the Tennessee Artist-Craftsman Association meeting in Nashville.[18] She began her teaching career by working for the Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation office where she taught quilting to women on welfare.[19] She later taught a quilting course at Shelby State Community College. This job paid $15 per teaching hour which was a total of $180 for the course. The first semester went so well that she taught the next semester and her number of courses increased. She ended her teaching career at Shelby State Community College and she then began her business, Contemporary Quilts, which was located on Summer Avenue in Memphis, TN.[20] This was an active shop which differed from her previous mail order business. In 1975, she served on a committee to organize seminars for women in small businesses. It was sponsored by U.S. Small Business Administration. In 1976, she met with a consultant for The Nihon Vogue Publishing Company of Tokyo pertaining to a book on the American quilter’s art for Japanese market.[21]

Marilyn did not have a hard time making herself known. Unlike Patricia Shaw, Marilyn’s work was still in the filed of what women are seen good at. Her career she chose could be done out of her house and she could run it the way she wanted to. She did not have a supervisor or anyone else over her. Many men that she had business with did not take her serious. She stood up and did not care what others thought of her. She made a career out of making quilts and she is still well known for her contributions to this day. Shaw and Califf both made themselves known in the business world. They ignore the beliefs that women can not be success and should only be of service to a man. They are the reason why women work hard today and do not need to depend on a man.

Work Cited Page

Primary Sources

"An Interview with Patricia Walker Shaw." Interview by Dianne Wells. An Oral History of Women Leaders in Memphis, December 12, 1979, Preservation and Special Collections Department, University of Memphis Ned McWherter Library.

Chronology of Achievements: Marilyn Iskiwitz Califf, Feb. 1981, Box 1, Folder 5, MSS 130 Marilyn Iskiwitz Califf, Preservation and Special Collections Department, University of Memphis Ned McWherter Library.

Current Resume’ for Marilyn Califf, Jan. 1977, Box 1, Folder 1, MSS 130 Marilyn Iskiwitz Califf, Preservation and Special Collections Department, University of Memphis Ned McWherter Library.

Patricia Walker Shaw Collection, “Executive Woman in New Role,” Memphis Press-Scimitar (Memphis, TN), Feb. 12 1983. MSS 109.

Patricia Walker Shaw Collection, Washington, Pearl, “Pat Shaw: ‘Quiet’ Ways Make Career Her Business,” Memphis Press-Scimitar (Memphis, TN), April 7,1983. MSS 109.

Secondary Sources

Harbeson, Gladys. Choice and Challenge for the American Woman,Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Pub., 1967.

_______________________________________________
[1]Gladys Harbeson, Choice and Challenge for the American Woman (Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Pub., 1967),86.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] ."An Interview with Patricia Walker Shaw." Interview by Dianne Wells. An Oral History of Women Leaders in Memphis, December 12, 1979, Preservation and Special Collections Department, University of Memphis Ned McWherter Library. [5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Patricia Walker Shaw Collection, Washington, Pearl, “Pat Shaw: ‘Quiet’ Ways Make Career Her Business,” Memphis Press-Scimitar (Memphis, TN), April 7,1983. MSS 109.
[8] Patricia Walker Shaw Collection, “Executive Woman in New Role,” Memphis Press-Scimitar (Memphis, TN), Feb. 12 1983. MSS 109.
[9] Ibid.
[10] "An Interview with Patricia Walker Shaw." dge, MA: Schenkman Pub., 1967)
[11]“Executive Woman in New Role.”
[12] Ibid.
[13] Current Resume’ for Marilyn Califf, Jan. 1977, Box 1, Folder 1, MSS 130 Marilyn Iskiwitz Califf, Perservation and Special Collections Department, University of Memphis Ned McWherter Library.
[14] Ibid
[15] Ibid
[16] Chronology of Achievements: Marilyn Iskiwitz Califf, Feb. 1981, Box 1, Folder 5, MSS 130 Marilyn Iskiwitz Califf, Preservation and Special Collections Department, University of Memphis Ned McWherter Library.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Ibid.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Ibid.

Publisher

University of Memphis Libraries

Date

2016

Contributor

Allison Horne, Jennifer Capers, Kristy Smith, Lauren McConnico

Rights

Digital Image © 2016, University of Memphis Libraries Preservation and Special Collections Department. All rights reserved.

Items in the Workplace Collection

Current Resume’ for Marilyn Califf<br /><br />
This document is the current resume for Marilyn Califf as of January 1977. She was born on April 27, 1932 in Memphis, TN. She graduated from Central High School in 1950 and went on to pursue a college degree. She began by attending the University of…

Sewing Sales &amp; Services<br /><br />
This document is an invoice to Contemporary Quilts from Sewing Sales & Services, Distributors of Notions from Atlanta, Georgia. Contemporary Quilts purchased supplies from this company for their quilts. The supplies include thread (.89 cents a…

Picture of the Universal Life delegation at the National Insurance Association Convention
In the Universal Life Insurance Company Magazine (ULICO), the Universal Life Delegation is pictured at the National Insurance Association Convention in Detroit. The convention was assembled by President L.R. Taylor, who spoke directly at the event.…

 Shelby State Community College
This document is from Shelby State Community College (today: Southwest Community College) to Marilyn Califf. Mrs. Califf was asked to teach an Introduction to Patchwork and Quilting in the Fall on Mondays from 7:30-9:30 p.m. She was paid $15 per…

Universal Life Insurance Promotion Letter to Patricia Shaw
In this letter Patricia Walker is promoted from Supervisor of the Data Processing Department at Universal LIfe insurance to Junior Officer, with the designation of Assistant Vice President- Assistant Controller. With this promotion, Shaw annual…

Black Will Be First Woman Nominated to LG&amp;W Board<br /><br />
 <br /><br />
he article “Black Will Be First Woman Nominated To LG&W Board” was printed in the Memphis Press-Scimitar on September 6, 1973. It was written about Patricia Shaw, a 34 year old insurance executive who was nominated by Memphis City Council, to…

Marilyn Califf, the Quilt Lady<br /><br />
This is a picture of Marilyn Califf, owner of ‘Contemporary Quilts, Home of the Quilt Lady’ in Memphis, TN. I believe this picture was taken at her business. Califf became interested in quilt making when her mother-in-law passed down a quilt…

Patricia Walker Shaw’s Resume
In Patricia Walker Shaw’s resume she provides all of her educational background, work experience, and professional attainments. Beginning with her undergraduate degree in business administration from Fisk University, Shaw continued to earn…