Texas Heritage, Volume 2, Number 2, Spring 1985

WOMEN IN TEXAS
HISTORY
By: Mary Beth Rogers

A Texas housewife decides how much
you pay for your telephone and electric
bills.
A celebrated hostess tells Texas bankers
how much interest they're going to
fork over on the state's $2.5 billion in
daily deposits.
A bouncy PTA mom sets limits on
what insurance companies charge to
protect your home and car.

traded their cookbooks, volunteer
chores and tennis rackets for gavels,
billion-dollar balance sheets and political
power. They have taken on the
challenge and difficulty of public decision-making.
And they have not only
been accepted, but acclaimed. For
that, they must give a little credit to
Texas history. For in Texas, it has not
been unusual for women to do ...
well . . . the unusual.

Texas has been the proving ground for
powerful and influential women for
more than 100 years.
"I used to think it was the water,"
joked Ann Richards. "But I guess it
really springs from the kind of past
we had-the values and spirit we
inherited."
Richards should know. She helped organize
an exhibition about the history

These women, and hundreds of others,
make decisions on state boards and
commissions, city councils, county
commissioners' courts and other government
bodies that affect how you
live and what you have to pay to enjoy
the good life in Texas.
Who are these women and why are
they shaping your lives?
Peggy Rosson is the heralded housewife
Governor Mark White appointed
to the Public Utility Commission. She
is one of three commissioners who set
telephone and utility rates for Texas.
State Treasurer Ann Richards, who
was once touted by a society columnist
as a "perfect hostess", is the state's
banker and cash manager for Texas'
$31 billion biennial budget.
Carol Keeton McClellan Rylander,
former mayor of Austin and PTA
leader, now regulates the state's $14
billion insurance industry as one of the
three members of the State Board of
Insurance.
These women are typical of hundreds
of women across Texas who have
14

2 .
, 141
i

>. y, J YOutlaw
Bonnie Parker and her partner, Clyde Barrow, were killed by Hamer and other officers in
1934. Illustration by Sandra Griffin, Austin, Texas.

Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Volume 2, Number 2, Spring 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46809/. Accessed August 20, 2014.