February, 1981 Home   Newsletters

March, 1981

April, 1981

League Is at City Hall
President's Message (Barbara Farwell)
Garbage Power (Anna Hoover)
What Makes the City Run? (Astrid Monson)
Mayor's Views on Density
League's Views
Bills! Bills! Bills! (Arlene Woo)
Money for League!
Housing Location Study
Whither Federal Dollars? (Arlene Woo)
Is this You?
What's Up in League?
New Names in a New Administration

President's Message

At our recent round of units on program planning one member said she thought the League should do more on "women's issues." This raises an interesting point: Why isn't the League -- at least this one -- more active in issues that especially concern women, such as child care, discrimination, access to "nontraditional" jobs, and so forth?

Part of the answer is that we're very busy doing other things that we consider important. Our reputation has been earned primarily through efforts in areas that some might consider the traditional purview of men: planning and zoning, transportation, energy, natural resources, international relations. We like to say that no issue is just for men or just for women, that we all have a stake in clean air, in decent housing, in education. Further, we know that many women have gained both the expertise and confidence from League work to go on to gainful employment. We might call this "unconscious consciousness-raising."

But there may be some vacillation on our parts when it comes to women's issues. Perhaps we are afraid of being identified with other women's groups that are considered "radical." We support ERA, of course, but we don't want to be identified as a "single-issue" organization.

It is a fallacy to think that by not identifying overtly with women's issues we are somehow regarded differently from other women. Maybe we aren't paying attention when we're called by our first names or called "honey" by men in power who want to keep us in a particular place. Maybe we ignore the connotations when we're called "girls" -- a term that implies cuteness, childishness, powerlessness. Maybe we don't see the implications of language at all, assuming that "man" refers to us, too, al- thought a quick look around would indicate that "man" in practice means male. (If all men are created equal, why do we still have to fight for equality?) Our culture is reflected in our language, every word of it.

The League is now participating in a loose network of women's groups in Honolulu. Increasingly we will be asked to join in supporting "women's issues." What will we do? If respect from the powers that be can come only at the price of our disassociating ourselves from women's issues and perhaps forgetting the suffragettes who founded the League, then such respect may be of little value. Women's issues are` our issues, too!

Barbara Farwell

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