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Female Candidates Gain With Voters

May 26, 1985|JANICE MALL

A poll conducted by the National Women's Political Caucus after the presidential election indicates that while some bias persists, women candidates have made gains with voters. One surprising finding was that a woman candidate begins with a 3% to 4% advantage over a man starting from the same position. The findings also confirm the theory that Geraldine A. Ferraro's candidacy lent credibility to women candidates for national office. Almost a fourth of those polled said that they had a greater willingness to vote for women as a result of Ferraro's campaign for the vice presidency.

The poll was a sampling, using interviews with 1,786 voters in five congressional districts.

The caucus found that women who lost elections in 1984 did not appear to have lost because of gender. It also found that party affiliation remains one of the strongest factors in voter decision-making. In addition to holding voters who are attracted to their political party, women candidates attracted four other groups of voters: working women, yuppies, voters under 35 and unmarried voters.

The voters who were polled stereotyped women negatively on only one characteristic, the ability to handle a crisis. They rated women equal to men in leadership qualities and better than men on caring, honesty, effectiveness, strong opinions, fighting for their beliefs, understanding voters' needs and speaking to the point.

Vassar College has not always fully appreciated one of its famous alumnae, novelist Mary McCarthy, whose 1951 critical essay, "The Vassar Girl," and 1963 novel, "The Group," about eight Vassar graduates, provoked indignant responses on campus.

Nevertheless, Vassar sounds very pleased indeed in its announcement that it has acquired the papers of "the distinguished author and Vassar alumna." McCarthy's papers cover a literary career that began after her graduation as a Phi Beta Kappa in 1933. She is the author of more than 20 books of fiction, essays and criticism.

There are 62 cartons of notes, scrapbooks, typescripts, photographs and voluminous correspondence with 20th-Century literary figures including Robert Lowell, Hannah Arendt, Elizabeth Hardwick, Sir Stephen Spender and Edmund Wilson, to whom McCarthy was married.

McCarthy lives in Maine and Paris with her husband, diplomat James Raymond West. She is at work on what her publisher calls "an intellectual autobiography."

The Women's Choice Clinic of the Feminist Women's Health Center, the first abortion clinic in the United States to open after the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal, was down but not out after its Hollywood site was destroyed by a fire in April.

The clinic moved into new quarters on Mother's Day and recently held an open house to celebrate its reopening at 6221 Wilshire Blvd. "We will continue in our new location to help women exercise their rights to voluntary motherhood," clinic director Laura Brown said.

The cause of the fire was not officially determined, but center officials said arson and bombings at abortion clinics caused its insurance to be canceled and make it difficult for clinics to relocate because landlords are afraid to rent to them.

Most people associate Betsy Ross with the patriotic art of sewing flags. For Flag Day, June 14, the Star Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore has sent out national publicity about Mary Pickersgill, a little-known Baltimore widow who made the flag known as the star-spangled banner--the 30x42-foot flag, the largest of its time, that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem at Ft. McHenry, Md., during a British bombardment in 1814.

Pickersgill sewed the flag (15 stars and two-foot-wide stripes) on the malt floor of a local brewery from 400 yards of material at a cost of $405.90. The Flag House in Baltimore was Pickersgill's home. Her star-spangled banner is at the Smithsonian.

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