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Ellen Gerber, born in 1936 in New York, grew up in what she describes as a “typical middle class Jewish American” family. Gerber explains that she was influenced by liberal politics and the expectation that she would have a career despite her gender. Gerber attended Sargent College, which later became Boston University, and in the 1960s, she received a doctorate in the history and philosophy of sport and spent a number of years teaching and writing books about the history of physical education and women in sports. In 1972, following the passage of Title IX, she toured college campuses to speak about implementing this measure for women’s athletics. In that process, she became increasingly convinced that legal change offered the most viable route for achieving gender equality, and in 1974 she enrolled in law school at UNC School of Law. Gerber describes what it was like to be an older woman in law school during the mid-1970s and talks about her goals to help women with her law degree. Following her graduation Gerber was hired by Legal Aid of North Carolina—where she worked for fifteen years before retiring—and worked on a range of legal issues including landlord-tenant and employment disputes. She describes how her own role evolved in Legal Aid after she became the managing attorney in 1980. Gerber speaks at length about access to justice and about women’s issues, ranging from her own motivations for advocating for women’s equality and her participation in such organizations as the N.C. Association for Women Attorneys.

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