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Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-18
Page 4
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Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-18 - Page 4. November 18, 1977. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 21, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4155/show/4122.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(November 18, 1977). Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-18 - Page 4. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4155/show/4122

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-18 - Page 4, November 18, 1977, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 21, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4155/show/4122.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-18
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date November 18, 1977
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 37 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 4
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_533ad.jpg
Transcript Mexico Cil/ Remembered "The press has been magnificently manipulated by the women and men whose stated goal is to stop this conference. If some people claim the sky is blue and others claim it is green, surely the press, rather than just reporting the difference of opinion, has an obligation at some point to find out what color the sky really is. "-Gloria Steinem. Two thousand journalists in search of a story are converging on Houston this weekend. What will be their perspective? Will we see responsible coverage of substantive issues or will the emphasis be on sensationalism and dissent? Peggy Simpson covered the 1975 IWY Conference in Mexico City for a news service. The following is excerpted from an account of that experience which she gave at a discussion of "the women's movement through the eyes of the media" at the Women in Public Life Conference held in November 1975 at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas. I knew I had the support of the New York editors who sent me to Mexico City to cover IWY. But I always had to watch to be sure that my stories were actually going to get on the news wire and out of town-and that the bosses would support me, if it came to an argument. When I arrived, I found that several of the male staffers had interviewed IWY celebrities as they arrived at the airport, asking their views on "women's lib" and whether they liked other women. Among others, they had interviewed Mrs. Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. The stories were classic put-downs of the women's movement. I don't know if they would have been different if I had done the questioning—but at any rate, the stories were already out and it seemed to me they set a tone of conflict for the conference. The next event was the opening of the IWY conference itself. It was hard to get across that this was not a meeting solely on women's issues—that this was one of many United Nations conferences dealing also with complicated economic issues such as how to divide up the wealth of the world. If anyone thought the Third World concerns would be glossed over in the women's conference, they were wrong. I had written a scene-setter for the opening of the conference, trying to mesh the economic issues with the fact that IWY was the first meeting of world governments to specifically address the problems of women and their insulation from shaping the future of society. I found the one available phone at the huge sports stadium where the opening ceremony was held, gave the bureau details of the "color" and of the Mexican president's forceful welcoming address to update my advance story, and went on to other events. The day was a long one, with a formal dinner following the daytime ceremonies, and it was midnight when I got back to the bureau. I discovered then that New York, for some unknown reason, had thrown away my carefully prepared, serious story about the opening of IWY and substituted instead a frilly story about the arrival of the Soviet IWY delegate, the cosmonaut. The story had been picked up from a Mexico City paper and funneled to New York, where it became the main story. It was sent out under my byline, with a line or two inserted about how the IWY conference had also been opened formally. I called New York to talk to the people who had assigned me and said, "I'm not going to stay if this is the way my stories are going to be handled—if they are going to get this demeaning treatment—if you are going to throw away the serious stories and use only silly ones." They said they didn't know what had happened. They found out and made it plain to the foreign desk editors that this was a serious story and they wanted it covered as such. They didn't mean, of course, that I shouldn't write about everything that was important, including "color" and confrontations. Many stories did involve clashes between Third World women and those MEXICO CITY, June 28—WOMEN CLASH AT CONFERENCE—Adriana Puiggros, center, of the Argentine delegation, and an unidentified woman from Latin America. Both have a grip on the microphone during a confrontation at the Medical Center Friday over the leadership of the International Women's Year Conference in Mexico City. (Text taken directly from AP Wirephoto, June 28, 1975.) from developed countries who were mixing it up at the unofficial women's meeting, the Tribune. These may have been healthy in making us all aware we really knew little of women's problems around the world. At least I knew too little. I think the confrontations between U.S. feminists also could be called healthy in one sense—if you had ever thought this was a movement that could be led by one person, you knew then it just wasn't so. And anybody who tried got a public comeuppance. It was difficult for me to concentrate on putting together stories on the significant issues, such as how to get AID money to women as well as to men in the underdeveloped countries. It was hard to get time to sift through the conflict and see the behind-the-scenes compromises being shaped by vastly different women with vastly different economic views, trying to bring harmony to the IWY Tribune. Most attempts at in-depth stories were interrupted by requests for "spot" stories, sometimes in response to competitors' articles covering yet another confrontation. I was starting to write up an interview about the reality of women's roles in Cuba and the Soviet Union, in contrast to the rhetoric—about how their entrees to top jobs didn't keep them out of the kitchen at home because their husbands weren't willing to help. I was given five minutes' notice by the bureau to go change into a formal dress and hop over to a hotel to interview Burt Reynolds—to see what he thought about "women's lib." He and Liza Minnelli were making a movie in Mexico and the Mexican press and photographers were invited to a reception for them. I'm not saying it didn't make a good story, finally pinning down Burt Reynolds on whether he liked women who are independent or those who are clinging vines (he likes them to be able to think for themselves)—but it took a helluva chunk out of my already squeezed schedule. The story about role-sharing in Communist countries was set aside and finally given short shrift three or four days later. Meanwhile, the more than 6,000 women at the Tribune had been agitating to recommend actions for the official U.N. conference to take-an unprecedented request. The U.N. official in charge, Helvi Sipila, had to turn them down, but in deference to the high feelings among the women who paid their own way to Mexico and BETSEY SIEGAL then felt shut out, she made a rare trip across town to the Tribune meeting and gave a unity-and-appreciation speech. Sipila and most of the thousands of people in the audience had left the auditorium when a half dozen Mexican and Argentine women began grappling for control of the microphone to speak about some friction they had with the Mexican government. As it turned out, my news service photographer, a Mexican national, was still in the auditorium, gathering up his cameras after the Sipila appearance. He took a striking photo of the Latino women fighting over the mike. And it was sent out over the newsphoto wires, across the world, with a vague caption something to the effect of "women fight at the IWY conference." Nine hours later, I first learned of the dramatic photo when the bureau paged me at my first and only restaurant meal out— at 10 p.m. that night. They wanted a story to describe the fight taking place at the women's conference, as portrayed in the photo. I was absolutely aghast. I spent the next three hours waking people up, trying to verify that there was no story. There wasn't. The photo was the most widely used one of the 21-day conference-and to many people it reinforced all the stereotypes about how women can't get along and will end up pulling hair if you put six together in the same room. Overall, I came away not only exhausted, but feeling slightly cheated at not having met more people and at not having had time to do more substantive stories. I felt that the overall emphasis on conflict was partly because reporters, writers and editors were ignorant about the issues, about the real barriers that have kept women here and in all corners of the world out of the mainstream. I felt somewhat discouraged but hoping that at the followup IWY conference five years later all of us would be more informed and would be less dependent on conflict for generating stories.W DAILY BREAKTHROUGH NOVEMBER 18, 1977 PAGET