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December 18, 1987 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

■ 1111111111111r

Gaye Smith, Margie Mellen and friends at Marmel Toys.

"My biggest problem now is fin-
ding (leisure) time for myself."
While the upwardly-mobile
businesswoman-with-a-family con-
tends with the persistent question of
how to combine family and a career,
successful, unmarried counterparts
are faced with another difficulty, ac-
cording to Susan Winton-Feinberg,
owner of Walter Herz Interiors in
Birmingham.
"I've been single since (a divorce)

in 1976," says Feinberg, 42. "And I
find it extremely difficult. I don't
know if it's just Detroit or just the
Midwest, but 95 percent of the men
in the right age group for me are
quite intimidated by somebody who
might make more money than they
do. Even if you forget the financial
aspect, they're very uncomfortable
with women who might be more well-
known in their field than they are in
theirs.

"I think that, if I were a guy right
now, socially my life would be in-
credibly great. But, here I am, I've got
four black-tie affairs coming up, and
I'm sitting here wondering how I'm
going to get to them.
"It's not that women who are ac-
complished are extraordinary," she
adds. "It's just that we are (going)
totally contrary to what these men
were taught our duties should be. A
man has to be highly confident and

self-assured, and has to like himself
a lot in order to understand that a
female could be the same way."
Annette Langwald, owner of
Elkin Travel and Cruises Only! since
1979, says she encountered the same
attitudes often when she was single.
(Her first husband died in 1976, and
she married again last year.)
"On a (personal) level, there's still
real difficulty for successful women,"
says the 45-year-old president of the
Michigan Chapter of the American
Society of Travel Agents, whose Oak
Park-based company last year topped
$14 million in revenues. "Such
women are still socially a threat to
many, many men."
On the up side, though, both
women claim they've seen a hearten-
ing improvement over the past decade
in men's attitudes toward women on
a professional level.
"I think that's come simply from
dealing more with professional
women, and seeng what they can do,"
says Langwald.
"I consult, in my work, with a lot
of builders," says Feinberg. "And I
honestly believe they don't really
think anymore about whether I'm a
female or a male. They're just basical-
ly thinking that I can get the job done,
and that I know what I'm doing.
"Also, I think that if somebody's
giving you a loan nowadays, or a line
of credit, I think they're looking at
what you are basically, and what you
can offer, what your capabilities are.
I really don't think it has anything to
do with being a man or a woman."
Daitch, whose accounts include
the major auto companies in town,
sees some instances in which profes-
sional businesswomen are gaining
more credibility with their colleagues.
In her experience, though, she con-
tends that women still have to work
harder than men to establish that
credibility. "The automotive world, of
course, is one of the last male bas-
tions," she says. "Primarily, though,
I see the (credibility) problem as a
generational thing. Younger people
have a much more open set of values
and I think that, as they get older and
get into positions where they're doing
the hiring, things will improve con-
siderably."

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

25

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