Remarks Before Participants in Homemaking and Identity Conference, (26 September 1975) Washington, D.C.

Speech Text

[1] I am delighted to see all of you here today—because this morning I was a bit dubious about the weather and was afraid some of you might get washed out—So welcome to the White House.

[2] I’m very excited about the whole concept of the conference. Each of us in this room have our own concept of what “identity” is. But to me it’s as fundamental as getting to know yourself. And that’s the basis for anything we decide to do with our lives.

[3] When I was young I chose a career as a dancer and loved every minute. I later gave that up for marriage and a family. I found this second career every bit as challenging. And every bit as satisfying—Let’s face it—being a homemaker is a profession.

[4] And just as a career woman finds an identity through her job, the homemaker needs to find that same sense of awareness—that same sense of self—through her job. That’s why this whole subject of identity is so important to those of us who have chosen our professions in the home.

[5] And that is exactly why the subject of equal rights for women is every bit as important to the homemaker as to the “career” woman. I’m in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment. [This is] Not only for equal pay for equal work, but because I feel every woman should have the right to decide the direction of her life.

[6] Whether a woman chooses a career in the home or outside the home, what is important is that she make the decision herself—without any pressures to restrict her choice. This is what real liberation is all about.

[7] A liberated woman is one who feels confident in herself and is happy in what she’s doing. She’s a person who has a sense of self. So what’s all this about liberated women being career women? Anyone who feels good about what she’s doing in the home should have the same sense of liberation.

[8] I think it all comes with this freedom of choice. And I hope that with the new emphasis on freedom of choice, the respect and stature homemakers deserve will be recognized.