Robert Tobey celebrates his Aunt, Hermine Tobolowsky, known as “Mother of the Texas Equal Rights Amendment,” which was passed by the Texas Legislature in 1972. Growing up in Dallas, Aunt Hermine told me about her struggles to be treated equally with men in college in San Antonio and then at UT Law in the early 1940’s. She was one of ten women in a class of 360 at UT, and she was only one of two women to graduate. Even though she faced many obstacles based solely on her gender, she graduated as one of the top ten students in her law school class. After practicing law for a number of years, she became a force in the equal rights movement in the 1950’s, and an equal rights bill was introduced into the Texas Legislature every session beginning in 1959. . Once the equal rights amendment was passed in Texas, she worked to pass the national equal rights amendment. Though that amendment failed to pass, she worked to get legislation passed in other states including Iowa.
Aunt Hermine was an inspiration to my cousin, Peggy Tobolowsky, and me as we chose to pursue law practice as a profession. Hearing about her struggles shows how far we have come, but there is still a long, long way to go. Hopefully, I have done something in my law practice, and in 2020 as President of the Dallas Bar Association to honor her legacy.
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