When I was studying French at Barnard I was going to be a translator for the UN. But at the time, there were fewer options for women, and it’s so exciting to see how many options women have now. I remember going to the bank for a mortgage that my first husband and I bought in 1969. The only way that a woman could qualify on a mortgage…had any collateral weight, was as a nurse or a teacher. Otherwise nothing. And the way the mortgage was written. It was written in the husband’s name, Et. Ux. meaning “and wife.” So, I had no name even.
Gale Nigrosh was born in Washington D.C. in 1947 and moved to Worcester with her first husband in 1967. Earning her Master of Arts in Teaching from Clark University and her Doctorate in Linguistics from Brown, Gale taught romance languages at Clark University for a number of years. She now works with the Worcester Public Schools creating partnerships with higher education institutions. In this interview, Gale discusses her extensive volunteer involvement in the Worcester community and her particular interest in programs that support women and children. She discusses her struggles with Multiple Sclerosis over the past twenty years and the importance of friends and support networks in helping her through tough times. She highlights the ways in which her health problems have influenced her day-to-day life, particularly the limitations it has placed on her abilities to do work both inside and outside the home. Gale briefly touches upon her Jewish heritage and the role of religion in her life as a child and today, particularly focusing on the changing role of Jewish women. She also shares some of her experiences of growing up in the South during the transition to racially integrated schools.