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Houston Breakthrough, May 1979
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Houston Breakthrough, May 1979 - Page 6. May 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. January 22, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/630/show/608.

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.

(May 1979). Houston Breakthrough, May 1979 - Page 6. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/630/show/608

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.

Houston Breakthrough, May 1979 - Page 6, May 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed January 22, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/630/show/608.

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 Houston Breakthrough, May 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~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 UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 6
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File Name femin_201109_550af.jpg
Transcript Media Matters by gabrielle cosgriff What's women's lib ever done for me?" asked Britain's Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister in European history. Long recognized for her strident manner, Thatcher emphatically divorced herself from the women's movement. "I don't like strident females," she claimed on a recent CBS Radio interview. "I like people who have ability, who don't run the feminist ticket too hard." Claiming that her sex had never been an impediment to her career, Thatcher insisted that the individual with merit will always prevail. Which brings to mind the time that Thatcher appeared on Bill Buckley's Firing Line a couple of years ago. Someone in the audience asked whether women were any more welcome or visible in British politics than they are in this country. Thatcher replied that there were no problems of that nature—that women had always been accepted in British pontics and she had had no difficulty in participating. "You have just informed me," said Buckley, "that there are very few able women in Great Britain, since we see so few of them active in politics." Thatcher's eyes glazed over and she was rendered incoherent for several minutes. But she was in fine fettle when it came time for the four-week campaign to unseat "Sunny Jim" Callaghan and his Labour Party. Callaghan waged a typically British, low-key campaign, while Thatcher ran an "American-style" media blitz-not much contact with the voters but high visibility. It paid off with an absolute majority, but Thatcher is already drawing fire for her appointments. Her 22 cabinet members are all male and her foreign secretary, Lord Carrington, is not even an elected member of parliament. He is the Conservative leader in the House of Lords, a largely ceremonious, powerless body. The only woman so far named to the government is Sally Oppenheim, whose Ministry for Consumer Affairs ranks below cabinet level. Thatcher has pledged to step up defense spending, curb non-white immigration and cut back on*social services to the poor and the elderly. (As Education Minister in the last Tory government, in 1970, Thatcher abolished free milk for schoolchildren, unleashing a storm of protest at "Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher.") Time's Bonnie Angelo trailed Thatcher during the campaign, and described her as "not like any candidate I've ever seen. She is. Barry Goldwater played by Pat Nixon—a tough, uncompromising politician in a meticulously ladylike package." Both Time and Newsweek had cover >«,w MARGARET THATCHER, PRIME MINISTER OF GREAT BRITAIN stories on Thatcher, with almost identical cover pictures. At Time, dressed in blue, she was "Britain's Fighting Lady," and at Newsweek, dressed in blue, she illustrated "Britain Turns Right." Blue is the color of the Conservative Party. Both magazines devoted about eight pages to the story. Both used "the Iron Lady" in headlines. At Time, "The Tron Lady' takes charge at No. 10," while at Newsweek it was "Britain's Tron Lady.' " Joseph C. Harsch, of the Christian Science Monitor, likened Thatcher to "one of those great sea captains of Britain's past—a Walter Raleigh, a Francis Drake, a Capt. Cook-who hoist their sails and set course out of some British harbor for uncharted seas and high adventure. "She and her crew think they know where they want to go. Their purpose is to regain vitality in the British economic system. But there are no charts telling them how it can be done ... It will be a fascinating voyage to chronicle and watch." A less romantic view was held by James Wieghart (New York News Service.) "Thatcher's election was more a victory of party rather than of person " he said in a recent commentary. He saw no real gains for women in politics, either in Britain or in this country. "The real test of the (American) public's willingness to accept a woman as head of government," said Wieghart, "would require the candidacy of a woman running as a woman, not as a Democrat or Republican who happened to be a female. "On women's issues this would mean that the elimination of discrimination based on sex .... would be the first, not last, plank in the party platform. "Perhaps (she) would pledge to appoint two men to her cabinet—lesser posts, of course, such as commerce and housing—and promise to name at least one or two male White House staffers to advise her on problems facing men. "As for domestic and foreign policy, it's hard to believe that a woman president would step up defense spending and cut back on spending for health care, jobs and welfare." Carolyn Randall, a Houston attorney, has been nominated by President Carter to fill a vacancy on the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post gave extensive coverage to her nomination, and both newspapers illustrated the ambivalence found all too often in success stories about women—Randall and the reporters took great pains to qualify her professional achievements with testimonials to her femininity and domestic prowess. The headlines in both papers accurately reflected the mood of the stories—negative. "City lawyer not totally prepared for news of appointment," said the Post (April 28), while the Chronicle (April 30) protested her innocence with "Carolyn Randall didn't aim for bench." "Mrs. Randall readily says she was delighted," according to David Lee of the Chronicle, "but refuses to admit she shed any feminine tears of joy. Still, despite her credentials in federal law, she remains completely feminine. Lee assured us that "longtime Julia Child fan" Randall manages time to be "wild in the kitchen," and confides that chicken, fish and veal dishes are her favorites. Mark Carreau of the Post was no less eager to demonstrate that Randall the lawyer is more than balanced by Randall the homemaker: "Dressed in running suit and shoes, she had just taken her turn at the wheel of the car pool (sic) that gets her three children to school. The phone was ringing as she walked in the door of her two-story Georgian-style home in River Oaks ..." Later, Carreau related, "behind her desk . . . Randall was understandably reluctant to recall her state of casual dress at such an important moment." Randall's nomination was made possible partly by the lobbying of feminists for the Omnibus Judgeship Act of 1978, which created 35 vacancies on U. S. appellate courts so that more women and minorities could be considered. Randall chooses not to associate herself with the women's movement. "One of the things I want to see happen is for women to get jobs," she told Carreau, "but not a whole lot of attention paid to the fact that they are women." But she does choose to associate herself with minorities. "Needless to say," she told Carreau, "I'm very sympathetic to the civil rights movement and securing equal rights for minorities." Why "needless to say?" It would seem that a woman nominated to a federal judgeship who dissociates herself from the women's movement would feel a definite "need to say" that she supported minorities. Not that she intended the nomination to happen, you understand. "Mrs. Randall had never pointed her career toward a judgeship," said Lee, "certainly not a $57,500-a-year appeals court post. But it happened." Lest we think it unfeminine that such a high-salaried, prestigious position should go to a woman, Lee hastened to reassure us with his next sentence. "Bespectacled, dressed and built like a conservative model, she looks every inch the lady lawyer." The committee that nominated Randall was headed by William C. Harvin, managing partner of Baker & Botts, where her husband James works as an attorney. "The thing I really feel good about," she told Carreau, "is it's a sign the system is working. When you think about it, you really have to think well of a country when a person like me can be appointed." Randall's parents, brother, sister and husband are attorneys, she attended Yale Law School and last July became a partner in the law firm of Sullivan, Bailey, King, Randall and Sabom. "The president, I think, is deeply committed to putting minority members and women on the bench," she told Lee. (This committment being directly proportional to the efforts of those same minority members and women.) "When it comes to the bench, I don't even think about the fact I'm a woman," Randall told Lee. "I've lived in a world almost exclusively populated by men for 17 years. I got used to that a long time ago." And you thought "blind justice" was just an expression. Houston Breakthrough May 1979