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PLATFORM : Still Seeking Respect

May 26, 1993| HELEN GORMAN KUSHNICK, former "Tonight Show" executive producer, has been in the entertainment industry for 25 years. Here are excerpts from her commencement address at William Woods College for Women in Fulton, Mo. and

One year after the so-called Year of the Woman, today's female college graduates are about to experience firsthand the difficulties of being a woman in 1993. While the choices for women are much wider since I went to work 30 years ago, many of the problems remain. The fact that there are more choices for women actually creates confusion because the increased opportunities have not been matched by an adequate support system, or even a remote understanding of how to help balance work and family.

Women, it seems, when trying to make a point about equality, feel they are expected to say something like "I'm not a feminist or a women's libber, but . . . " before they speak. It's time for us to claim the right to our opinions without making them sound "nice." The right that men of all ages take for granted.

Demanding respect for our ideas is a challenge women have to meet over and over. Wherever we go, whatever we do, whether we shout or whisper, we are always in a battle to be takenseriously, or even to be heard in the first place.

The simple fact remains that America hasn't caught up with its own rhetoric. Equal opportunity is a goal, not a fact. And the resistance to successful women is an all-too-painful reality.

Women's liberation has always been misnamed. Sexual stereotypes limit job choices and inhibit success, genuine success for men and women.

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