Education: Challenges


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Mary Turner Lane

Mary Turner Lane

"They included me"
- Naomi Elizabeth Morris

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Once women had been accepted into higher education programs, they had different experiences in their unusual positions. Some women recall being accepted by their male peers, while others felt they were unwelcome. Naomi Elizabeth Morris remembers her classmates in the 1955 class of UNC School of Law as being very inclusive and supportive of her, even though she was the only female student in the program.

"Women weren't wanted
here" - Mary Turner Lane

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On the other hand, Mary Turner Lane recalls a 1923 issue of The Tar Heel that included a section in which the student body president explained why women were not welcome at Carolina. Kathrine Robinson Everett mentions that her fellow law students would often jestingly say that women were going to ruin the law school, although she is quick to point out that such comments were very tongue-in-cheek and that,overall, her fellow students were considerate and cordial.

"Everyone had a wife"
- Mary Turner Lane

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Mary Turner Lane was a widowed mother while she pursued her Ph.D. Her responsibilities as a single parent and a single wage-earner severely challenged her ability to complete her degree. The necessity of working in order to support herself and her child left her very little time to work on her dissertation. However, she did finish and eventually went on to become the first director of the Women's Studies Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.