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California No. 1 in Female Elected Officials

October 26, 1986|JANICE MALL

There is encouraging news both in California and on a national level about the progress of women in public office.

Los Angeles City Council President Pat Russell, who is also president of the League of California Cities, cited a new survey that shows California to be No. 1 in the country in the number of female elected local officials. The state's 329 women elected to city offices represent 23.3% of all elected municipal officials in California according to the survey, which was released by the National League of Cities in conjunction with the California League's annual meeting in Los Angeles last week.

California was also outstanding among states in terms of women elected to high places in city government, Russell's announcement said. Its four largest cities all have women serving in top positions: Council President Russell in Los Angeles; Mayor Maureen O'Connor, San Diego; Mayor Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco; and Council President Susan Hammer in San Jose.

The national survey covered 176 cities of more than 100,000 population. Of these, only 17 have women mayors; seven of them, or 41%, are in California. With 54 women mayors, California has more city chief executives than any other state.

Making Ongoing Gains

Nationally, women have been making small but ongoing gains in the number of state-level appointive positions, according to new figures from the Center for the American Woman and Politics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. The center, a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, updates its information on women in politics three times a year.

Its newest information concerns women appointed by governors to state cabinets. Of the 39 states with appointed cabinets, women now hold 17.9%, or almost one in five, of available slots, the survey showed. This has increased from 12.8% in 1981 and 15.1% in 1983. Every state with a cabinet has at least one woman in the group.

Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D) had the greatest proportion of women in his cabinet of any state, with six of 14 cabinet positions held by women. In Vermont, one of two states with a woman chief executive (the other is Kentucky), Gov. Madeleine Kunin (D) ranked second with a cabinet of 40% women. California came in 11th with a cabinet composed of 20% women. Democratic governors seem to have done better in appointing women than Republicans. Eight of the 10 states with the most appointed cabinet women had Democratic governors.

The center also looked at the women cabinet members according to the areas of function to which they were appointed and found that the largest number, 17.2% of all women state cabinet officials, worked in health and social services. The fewest women were in transportation, utility regulation, economic development, banking and financial institutions and licensing and regulations, but with the exception of health and social services, there was no area of state government in which women were notably concentrated or notably left out.

Relatively low-cost ($30) Pap smears and pelvic examinations for detection of cervical cancer will be given Nov. 4-7 at the Cancer Center and Women's Health Plaza of the Hospital of the Good Samaritan in recognition of the American Cancer Society's Minnie Riperton Week, which begins next Sunday.

Riperton, the singer who died of breast cancer at the age of 32 in 1979, served as a national volunteer for the Cancer Society and dedicated the year before her death to providing cancer awareness information and educational programs. Cancer Society volunteers chose to keep Riperton's memory alive with community awareness programs about cancer.

The Pap smear is "one of the great success stories in cancer control," said Dr. Jim Bonorris, chairman of Good Samaritan's Cancer Committee and clinical professor of medicine at USC. Bonorris pointed out that while cancer of the cervix is as prevalent as it was decades ago, the death rates have dropped dramatically because of early diagnosis made possible by the Pap test.

Hours for examinations are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 4-6 and 8 a.m. to noon on Nov. 7. Appointments are required and may be made by calling (213) 977-2490.

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