American women can successfully combine careers with family life, Jane Pauley, co-host of NBC's "Today" show, said yesterday, urging women students to take advantage of opportunities opened to them by the women's movement of the last two decades.
"You may have it all--whether you can is an altogether different story," Pauley told an audience of about 100 people at the Law School Forum.
Pauley credited Betty Freidan and other leaders of the feminist movement for creating an environment in which women are a necessary part of the work force, and for pressuring the Federal Communications Commission to create affirmative action guidelines in the broadcast industry.
"I got my jobs because I was a woman," Pauley said, adding, "My motto was 'Praise be for the FCC.'"
Pauley, who became co-host of the "Today" show in 1976 at the age of 25, admitted that luck played a part in her meteoric success. "My timing was perfect," she said.
Pauley said a new direction of the women's movement stresses the importance of the family. "At first, we all aspired to be Mary Richards [the unmarried reporter portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore in her television series]," she said, adding, "It is possible to have a career and think about a family and still be serious [as a feminist]."
Commenting on television as a medium, Pauley said she hoped people took time to read newspapers, as well as watch television newscasts. She added that the value of television is its accessibility and more human character.
"My value is as a communicator," she said.
In answer to a question from the audience, Pauley said that most woman newscasters are blondes and that older women are becoming more acceptable as broadcasters. She added, "By the time I retire, it will be cool to have gray hair."
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