Judith (Judy) Hughes is a retired educator. In this interview, she tells about her struggles as a woman navigating through a career during a time when women were discouraged as strong individuals. As a young woman in the 1970s, she was offered her dream job as a band director. her contract was immediately rescinded when she found out she was pregnant. This interview aims to preserve an account of gender inequality in the workplace and having to conform to expected gender roles.
Judy graduated from Ohio State University in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in instrumental and vocal music, certified to teach grades K-12. She has worked in many areas of education including preschool, high school biology, MESA, music education, and teaching community college courses. She worked at Peoria High school for 28 years, teaching biology, MESA, and was the assistant band director and flag line coach for 3 years.
Growing from an abusive relationship and battling cancer has proven that Judy is a strong, resilient woman. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 63. The photo above was taken the day she asked her hairdresser to shave her head in order to take control of her life through cancer. She describes this moment as empowering and felt it was important to show off her shaved head to show she was strong enough to face the battle of cancer.
Since she has been retired, she has become politically active, working for candidates who support women's causes such as Senator Kirsten Cinema and presidential hopeful Mark Kelly. She believes it is her job as a woman to continue to fight for women. Judy loves adventure and leads a full life which has included traveling the world, fulfilling her dream as a guest conductor for the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, sky-diving on her 70th birthday, and becoming a political activist.

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