icy o e ts 40443 \\ ,f SS 46s 9 ftejw” t Occe vos ts Ci-ce cap coc IL HY “Home of Texas Traditional Music” Down-Home Food 217 So. Lamar Austin, Texas 13o05 503 B WEST 17 TH 476.0116 Mum, Texts 78701 September 3, 1976 15 Dallas Irony’s gentle hand collected two very different groupsthe Mary Kay Cosmetics consultants and the Texas Women’s Political Caucusinto simultaneous conventions here early in August. Many of these women faced off in Austin last year over the Equal Rights Amendment. But while the Mary Kay salesladies aim at diamonds and pink Cadillacs for all their upward struggles, the TWPC was meeting at the Sheraton Hotel to make such struggles easier. The caucus has reached an ambiguous period. Great strides have been made in Austin. In the last legislative session, rape laws were improved. A big, pink push to rescind the state’s ratification of the ERA was beaten back. The women of the TWPC deserve credit for much of this. But for the group itself, the present contrasts with the earlier euphoria inspired by Sissy Farenthold. Some so-called radical ideas of just a few years agolike equal pay and employmenthave become common sense in the commonweal. But other ideas, embodied in the ERA, have sparked a fierce backlash. So the state’s feminist political caucus finds itself on unfirm footing and without the easy inspiration of a leading personality. Sissy is off presiding over a college in upstate New York. And Barbara Jordan, who was never really even connected with the caucus, long ago transcended her womanhoodand her blackness, for that matter. The caucus, then, has taken a new, ad hoc approach. To paraphrase Jeb Magruder in other, distressing circumstances, it uses the rifle instead of the shotgun. TWPC’s membership, according to one source who has seen the records, is smaller. The organization is less self-important now. It doesn’t carry all the burdens of all Texas women but instead a focused laundry list for yet more tidying up in the Austin fun house. Members of the caucus decided that their top priorities for the next legislative session include welfare reform, aid to displaced homemakers \(who are currently ineligible form, repeal of the state’s sodomy laws, and the establishment of a commission on the status of women. Texas is the only state in the union lacking such a women’s commission. TWPC members say this is the greatest of the Carol Edgar works in news and public affairs for KERA-TV and radio in Dallas. five priority issues. And they say it has the broadest support among other women’s groups in the state. A commission would empower the women’s movement in Texas, endow it with official attention and money. It would mean a lot merely for its symbolism. And it would strengthen efforts that now rely solely on volunteers and that compete with heavily financed interest in Austin. Of course the most attention-getting of the other four planks is the repeal of sodomy laws. The TWPC position is noble and enlightened and called-for. But will any rep or senator be able to go home to Sweetwater or Seguin after taking a stand against “morality”? Though the caucus has grown rapidly in sophistication, it may be showing residual naivete in making a priority of what manyin fact, probably most Texans see as a license to wholesale evil. On these and other issuesfrom lauding outgoing chairwoman Martha Smiley to boycotting Rolling Stone for an offensive adthere was little disagreement. The caucus even elected its new chair, Bonnie Lesley of El Paso, by acclamation. The pre-eminence of Jimmy Carter probably accounts for most of the harmony. The caucus is, of course, inextricably linked with the progressive movement, and most of its members are moderate-to-liberal Democrats who look forward to Carter’s impact on state party politics. Ironically, the most ‘ticklish issue before the caucus stems from all this good fortune. It looks like the Carter sweep may put a black woman in the second post of the state’s Democratic party. F l our black women have announced as candidates, but at least two are active in the caucus. The Democrats at the Dallas meeting decided against endorsing in that race. Chances are that women will win one way or another. This year the caucus moved closer than tion with other women’s groups .in the stateincluding the League of Women Voters, the Texas Nurses Association, and Business and Professional Women. During a Saturday morning session, leaders from these and other groups met with TWPC for an information session. Caucus members learned that these groups, who successfully joined in the pro-ERA effort last session, plan a concerted effort to pass a bill creating the proposed women’s commission. Martha Smiley admitted, “It took us a long time to realize that we have a lot in common with the League and B&PW. They were pushing for the ERA long before we were.” you’ll be tickled about the ribs. Mon.-Fri. 11:00-7:30 Sat. 12:00-4:00 The Outpost Barbecue 10930 Printers Stationers Mailers Typesetters High Speed Web Offset Publication Press Complete Computer Data Processing Services Counseling Designing Copy Writing Editing Journals Magazines Newspapers Books The Only 100% Union Shop in Texas! FUTURIL 512 / 442-7836 Box 3485 1714 S. Congress Austin, Tx 78764 TWPC picks priorities By Carol Edgar
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