Frances (Sissy) Farenthold, president of the National Women's Political Caucus, urged American women to radically increase their participation in politics, in a panel discussion yesterday at MIT.
Speaking before approximately 50 women and 8 men, Farenthold gave a brief sketch of her political career. She said, "I am still working...for the day when unqualified blacks, unqualified browns, and unqualified women can compete with unqualified men in politics."
Women in Politics
Doris H. Kearns, associate professor of Government, also spoke on the panel, entitled "The Politics of Women in Higher Education."
Kearns, who spent two years as the first woman White House fellow under the Johnson Administration, said that politicians in America define themselves entirely through their public image. "People in politics have an incredible need to be liked by everyone," she said.
Farenthold, a former Texas legislator, was defeated in last year's Democratic primary for governor of Texas, and was a candidate for the vice-presidential nomination in 1972.
Farenthold said that less than 1 per cent of the political decision-makers in America are women. Women have to prove themselves over and over again, and have to be constantly better informed than men, she said.
Mary Goode, a member of Continuing Education for the Inner City Women at Tufts, and Pat Sackrey, head of Continuing Education for Women at U.Mass. Amherst, also spoke in the panel.
Goode, a middle-aged Tufts undergraduate, said she had to "act politically though not thinking politically" in order to get "what she needed" at Tufts.
Sackrey cited male biases in several areas of both UMass and Smith College (which she attended as an undergraduate). She specifically mentioned inadequate child care, health care, vocational counseling and housing as areas needing reform.
Kearns and several women in the audience spoke on the need for women to affiliate themselves with the women's rights movement. "Agreement with the major thrust [of the movement] is vital," Kearns said.