Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.
Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women's Movement Archives
Dorothy Wiggins Gibson-Ferrey was born in New London, Connecticut in 1917. She attended Southern Seminary (Buena Vista, VA), then moved to California with her mother and brother. Graduating from the University of San Diego, she married her first husband -- a salesman for Coca Cola. The couple lived in California and Texas before settling in Atlanta. In 1972, while Jimmy Carter was governor of Georgia, Gibson-Ferrey was elected as the first chair of the Georgia Commission on the Status of Women, having served on the board of the Fulton County Department of Children and Youth and the Georgia Committee on Crime and Delinquency. She was a member of Mayor Andrew Young's Civilian Review Board from 1986 to 1989, and also served as a board member of the Council on Battered Women.
Abstract of the full interview
Dorothy Wiggins Gibson-Ferry begins her oral history with a fascinating account of life in interwar New England. Her father was a painter, her mother an early English Suffragette, and her family interacted actors, artists, and writers. Gibson-Ferry says that she became politically active in 1973: After volunteering for the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services for a number of years, she was asked to serve as the first chairperson for the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women. Gibson-Ferrey recounts some of the issues dealt with by the Commission, including sexual stereotyping in vocational training agencies, sexual discrimination in state government, and the poor conditions of women's prisons in Georgia. Gibson-Ferrey believes that one of the major successes of the Women's Movement is that women now have access to a greater choice of professional and executive careers. She feels however, that as a society, we still need to be concerned about poverty among elderly women, as well as women's education and health.
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