Stories from our Pre-Queen years growing up in the 1950s and 1960s.
When men went off to war in the 1940s, women took on a wide range of non-traditional jobs like building airplanes, working as laboratory techs, radio operators, pilots, and truck drivers. Over 350,000 joined the military and 10,000 came to Washington as Code Girls helping to break the enemy’s codes to help win the war. But after the war, even though many women wanted to continue working their jobs, they were let go in favor of the returning Veterans. In the 50s and 60s, women’s career choices were somewhat limited to teacher, nurse, librarian, secretary, beautician, or home maker. Not surprising, some of our preQueens were discouraged from pursuing technical careers by parents, teachers, and guidance counselors. But others did have the support of family and friends.
In my youth I was always interested in how and why things worked/operated the way they did. I can honestly say one of my favorite courses in high school was Physics. However, much to my chagrin when it came time to pick a major in college, although I had scored well on the Kuder Preference Test for engineering, my advisor/mentor told me I was crazy to go into that field as a female. According to him I would never make it because the field was pretty much closed to females. The hardships and discrimination would be unbearable. He suggested something in the field of education. So being a naïve 17 year old I believed him and chose Secondary Education as my major. After several years of teaching middle school math, Peggy found her way to NSA.