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Women Probe Public Sector At Conference

By Susan H. Golstein

Government officials must combine the "masculine stereotype of power and organization" and the "feminine stereotype of caring" to strike a proper balance between equity and efficiency in government policy, Elsa Porter, assistant Secretary of Commerce, told Saturday's Conference on Women in Public Service.

Porter, delivering the conference's keynote address to an audience of about 350 in Kresge Hall at the Business School, stressed the need to reduce distrust among nations and unemployment in our country.

Achieving that goal "requires a different quality of leadership and stewardship," Porter said, adding President Anwar el Sadat of Egypt has exemplified such leadership in his recent diplomatic moves.

The conference also included a panel discussion on "lifestyle decisions,"and four workshops led by panels of both men and women.

Mary Proctor '64, principal analyst at American Management Systems in Washington, D.C., spoke on alternative career paths, and elaborated on the ideas Porter expressed.

Surviving as a part of one's family is important to both male and female workers because their happiness and fulfillment at home is reflected in the work they do on the job, Proctor said.

Earlier in the conference, John D. Deardourff, chairman of the board of a political consulting firm, said in a panel discussion it is "dangerous for women to conceal their career interests, or lack of interest for housekeeping or child-rearing."

"Never overstimate the extent to which your husband will share in the child rearing problem," Deardourff told the mainly female audience.

Deardourff added, however, most men are not willing to scale back their own career plans to accomodate their wives' career ambitions.

The other five panelists--all women--spoke mainly of their personal efforts to balance their work in the public sector with their social and family lives.

Elizabeth E. Bailey '60, member of the Civil Aeronautics Board, said balancing her career and her personal life was a recurring problem as she became more successful at work.

Bailey, who worked with Bell Laboratories in positions ranging from computer programmer to supervisor of the Economics Research Group, said "stress wasn't resolved once because I didn't just grow once."

Susan Rosbrow, psychologist and panel moderator, said the easiest time for mothers to leave a child for work is either just after the child is born, or when the child is six years old.

As an unmarried working woman, Jessica Tuchman '67, a member of the National Security Council, offered a slightly different perspective on the problems of women working in the public sector.

There are many advantages to establishing one's career before marriage, ranging from freedom to share an informal social life with colleagues to freedom from guilt about working 70 hours a week, Tuchman said.

She added that marriages between two people who established their careers before marriage are the only ones she knows of in Washington that have survived.

Tuchman added working women must learn not to think using their secretary is a "violation of sisterhood."

In a workshop on women in entry and mid-level positions, Jeanne Khan, the only women in the Defense Audit Agency to serve as an administrative officer, said academic degrees are less important in acquiring top-level positions than the fundamental decision to "select power."

In the same workshop, Hildy Simmons, director of community relations for the New York State Department of corrections, said she was neither concerned with nor knew about crime or corrections before aquiring her job, but her analytical ability enabled her to look at problems intelligently and work with others to help solve them.

The other workshops dealt with alternative career paths, women as elected officials, and women in public management.

Mary Kurkjian, conference coordinator, said last week she hoped the conference would help form an "old girls network," or support system for women in the public sector.

Names and addresses of conference goers were gathered at the conference to facilitate the establishment of such a network of women.

The more traditional "old boys network" is breaking down slowly, and maybe both men and women in the public sector will eventually form a mutual support system, Kurkjian added

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