Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Welcome to the new!

If you have questions, feedback, or encounter issues as you explore, please fill out our Feedback Form.

Women Who Changed The Game In Las Vegas

High heels, sequin dresses, feather boas -- the glamorous life of a Las Vegas showgirl has been a part of the appeal of the famed resort city for many decades.That's what it looks like on paper, at least.

The boom of the casino industry after a war-weary country in the 1940s appealed to both men and women looking for work. Explaining the real-life experiences of women finding economic success is one of the reasons Joanne Goodwin,UNLV history professor and director of the Women's Research Institute of Nevada, wrote "Changing the Game - Women at Work in Nevada, 1940-1990."

The book explores the fact that there were more women working in Las Vegas than other parts of the country because of the types of jobs it had available. And they were doing more than what the marketing material would have you believe.

Women in Las Vegas sought economic dependence through the jobs they could obtain with hotels and casinos - housekeeping, money counting and secretarial jobs were numerous, but a shift in attitude of acceptance in the nation led to more opportunity.

The book features profiles of 11 women who were casino owners, show and company managers, hotel administrators, card dealers and dancers, and tells the stories of why they came to this city in the middle of the Mojave Desert and how they developed their potential.

Goodwin also has a three-part series documentary series on women in Nevada airing on Vegas PBS, channel 10, called “Makers: Women in Nevada History,” a Nevada version of the PBS documentary “Makers: Women Who Make America.”

The third and final part of the series, “Into the Future,” airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4.  Successful women of today will be featured, including the three panelists, Barbara Buckley, Pat Mulroy, Rose McKinney-James, Carolyn Goodman and Tina Kunzer Murphy.


Joanne Goodwin, author, "Changing the Game -- Women at Work in Las Vegas, 1940-1990"

Copyright 2015 KNPR-FM. To see more, visit

Stay Connected