Female Equal Rights Pioneer Says Women Need to Be in All Levels of Political Office

One of the state's first female attorneys talks about the importance of the election and voting

Columbia, SC (WLTX) One of the first female attorneys in South Carolina, Sarah Leverette made her own mark and is now watching history. The midlands pioneer in equal rights says it's more important than ever to vote.  


Speaking on the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote,  Leverette, tells News 19 "I was born in 1919 and it was ratified very shortly after." She says growing up, she watched the treatment of people. 

She says, "I saw what was happening and I realized women were second class citizens."
So she set out to make a difference, and do what she felt was right.  She was the only female in her law school graduating class in 1942.  She says the discrimination she faced turned into her fuel. She says, "They kind of ignored me. So that kind of lit a fire under me."


When she graduated, the law office doors were closed to her as a female, so she became a law librarian and taught at the USC School of law for 25 years. Among her students was the first female South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice, Jean Toal. Incidentally she also taught the current Chief Justice,  Justice Costa Pliecones. 

Leveratte also fought for equal pay  serving on the Workers Compensation Commission during the 70's.  She says we haven't gotten very far with that inequality.  She says "Equal pay we have not done what we should. There is a law but people are breaking the law and we are doing nothing about it."


In 1950 She was a founding member of the South Carolina League of Women Voters a non-partisan group that works to educate the public on the issues so they become more involved in the voting process and in their communities. Leverette says this election  has shed light on issues we still face.  She says, "The race question, the gender question was completely ignored. So today we are looking at it equal pay, women's productive rights. They are being observed. They are being fought over."

With two female candidates for President,  one from a Major party, Leverette says, "I feel very strongly about women being in government."

Leverette  says we need both men and women in public service. But, she says,  women bring a different understanding to the table.  She says, "Women number one, are more compassionate and they seem to have and I see this in law more. They have the power to analyze problems. I think they are better at that then men."

This election is writing another page in our history book with a candidate who could be the first female President of the United States.  Leverette says, "I think if she doesn't win, it's still a plus, it's still a plus that she is running."

And Leverette  says, it's our job to run to the polls. She says, "If you dont vote, don't blame me for who you elected. Participation in government is extremely important. I owe that. I have a civic responsibility because I live in the United States. I have the freedoms I have, Well then, I owe something back."

At the age of 96, Leverette says she will be at the polls tomorrow to vote Tuesday and then she will watch to see if our country makes history.


 


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