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September 14, 1984 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-09-14
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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


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gender
and
Gerry
By Jackie Young
D ISILLUSIONED with the1
primary season that elimi
Democratic presidential candi
John Glenn and Fritz Hollings,
Lussier wasn't going to vote at
Lussier was tired of candidate W
Mondale and angry that Michi
primary fell so late - after her favi
candidates had dropped out of the r
But on July 12, 1984, Rep. Gera
Ferraro (D-New York) made histo
becoming the first woman t
nominated for and then run on a
party ticket.
Lussier, a 1984 University grad
decided to return to Ann Arbor
graduate student in library science
also decided to vote the Mon
Ferraro ticket.
"When they put Gerry on the sl
really woke me up again. I b
debating again and arguing wit
husband," Lussier said.
The nomination of a woman ma
have affected everyone's life as
as Lussier's. But Ferraro is, n
theless, in the political spotlight an
is causing people to look at
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Ferraro: A symbol of hope to many

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presidential race and women in politics
in a different light.
"It has certainly spurred more
people to take an interest in politics,"
Lussier says. "A lot of women have told
me that they are so glad to see a woman
is no longer just the candidate's wife,
looking at her husband all misty-eyed."
Judy Goldsmith, president of the
National Organization for Women,
praised the choice of Ferraro last
summer as a victory for all women and
for all Americans, but several Univer-
sity students don't see it as such'a big
step.
"I don't think it's a really big deal. I

won't vote for her just because she's a
woman," says Denise Burke, a senior
communications major. "I never felt
there was any difference between
women's and men's career goals.And I
don't personally feel there has been any
sex discrimination against me."
Art school junior Jill Kominsky
agrees.
"It's complete bullshit. A person's a
person. Just because she's a woman she
shouldn't have any more impact than
anyone else," Kominsky says. "She's
just a human being. So what."
Barry Shulak, a senior English
major, says he thinks it is really great
that a woman is on the ticket but feels
Mondale is being less than honest when
he says it wasn't a political move.
"(Ferraro) was chosen as a woman
who happened to be qualified, rather
than a person qualified who happened
to be a woman," Shulak says.
In fact, being a woman is becoming
more of an asset in politics these days.
The "gender gap" which emerged from
the 1980 elections and then in New York,
Texas, and Michigan in 1982 proved
that there is a difference between the
way men and womenevaluate a
political candidate at the polls. This
year the gender gap is becoming one of
the hottest political topics.
Polls show that although both sexes
support President Reagan over Mon-
dale, women support Reagan to a lesser
degree than men. The reasons for this
difference are generally thought to lie
in two key issues: World peace and
human rights.
Marjorie Lansing, a national
authority on the gender gap who first
coined the term in one of her many
books on women in politics, concludes
in her latest book that women now
"constitute a force in America that is
comparable to the organized labor
movement of the twentieth century."
"There's a Ferraro factor involved
with all the races," says Lansing,
an Eastern Michigan University
political science professor who the
Democrats have nominated for Univer-
sity regent. '

"It provides a new dimension for
selecting women as candidates. There
is now a notion that women can win,"
she says.
Michigan . Student Assembly
President Scott Page recognizes the
significance of the gender gap on cam-
pus, especially with such issues as
security. "A woman's perspective at
the University is different from a man's
perspective," Page says.
Page says he thinks students at the
University overall "are not only in-
terested in electing white males,"
noting that the past two MSA presidents
were women.
On campus, Page says "special in-
terest or bloc voting" has propelled a
number of women and minority can-
didates into MSA seats, a fact which
illustrates on a smaller scale the power
of special interest voting.
Women are becoming more visible in
all levels of the political process, from
running for high offices to working as
volunteers.
George. Sallade, past chair of the
Washtenaw County Democratic Party
and longtime Ann Arbor political
organizer, says the telephone in his of-
fice rang constantly after Ferraro's
nomination. He says he acquired 75
campaign volunteers over the phone -
all of them women.
"Qualifications are still the number
one requirement for office," Sallade
says. "But there is obviously an in-
terest in women as women. The
women's vote is very important."
Because of their number - 52 percent
of the population is female - and their
voting patterns, Sallade contends that
women candidates now have a better
chance than male candidates, even in
the South.
Some political experts predict that
the Democrats' increasing focus on the
women's vote along with the candidacy
of Ferraro and the Rev. Jesse Jackson
may cause fewer white males to vote
the Democratic ticket.
Sallade doesn't believe this will hap-
pen. "There will be no white-male
backlash. That's a fiction of political

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4 Weekend/Friday, September 14, 1984

Weekend/Frid

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