Women Probe Public Sector At Conference

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.

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