Elaine’s short story highlights the life of Sonoma County resident Barbara “Dusty” Roads and how she became known as the one who ignited the Second Wave of the Women’s Liberation Movement. As an American Airlines stewardess, airline industry union negotiator, and legislative lobbyist to Congress, Dusty fought regulations prohibiting marriage and requiring the firing or grounding of stewardesses at age thirty-two. It was a 15-year struggle during which Dusty and her colleague, Jean Montague, became the first in the United States to file a gender discrimination complaint with the EEOC after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Although the marriage ban and age policy were successfully challenged and overturned by the EEOC (and later in the courts), Dusty immediately intervened politically to avert a potential strike over continued contract disputes on those rules. As a result, American Airlines would be the first airline company to overturn them.
“History in Our Midst.” A short story in “SONOMA: Stories of a Region and its People”. Redwood Writers 2017 Anthology.