An Opportunity to Speak Out on Issues

Minority women--both Americans and recent immigrants--and people concerned with their needs are invited to make oral presentations or bring statement papers to a hearing Friday sponsored by the California Commission on the Status of Women and local commissions on women from Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Compton, Santa Monica and Pasadena.

"The Pride and the Prejudice: Women of Color Speak" is the title of the forum, which is designed to give minority and Third World women an opportunity to discuss issues they consider of high priority and incorporate their concerns and needs into the activities of the commissions on women at state and local levels.

This is the first time the state and local commissions have gotten together on a project of this type, said Susan Cowan Scott, speaking for the state commission in Sacramento. "I think there has been an awareness for some time that the women's movement has not paid enough attention to minority women, Third World women, women of color, whichever term people prefer. This is an attempt to be sure their concerns are well documented and addressed. The shape and body of the testimony will be determined by women who live in the greater Los Angeles Area."

Mary Blair of the Los Angeles County Commission for Women said that organizers are "getting a good response and a good cross section--Asian, Hispanic and black women" from women who want to testify or present papers.

"We're trying to reach minority American women and recent immigrants, who find even more discrimination," Blair said.

Assemblywoman Gloria Molina (D-Los Angeles) will open the hearing at 8:30 a.m. at the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple. Testimony, organized by subject area, will be heard until 6 p.m. with subjects to include (but not limited to) employment, education, violence against women, health, housing, child care and child support.

Information about the hearing or how to make a presentation is available by calling the offices of the Los Angeles County Commission for Women at 974-1455.

The testimony and statements will be put together into a report and published by the state commission and used by the state and local commissions to plan future services to minority women.

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Top women executives are quite a bit different from their male counterparts. For one thing, they favor more well-rounded educations.

A survey of 5,299 business leaders--vice presidents and presidents of firms--conducted by two professors of business administration at the University of Michigan found that business leaders are well-educated. Ninety-eight percent had graduate degrees in business administration. However, a majority of the women had taken undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, social science or humanities and went on to obtain their graduate degrees in business, with communications named as their most valuable graduate course. Two-thirds of them recommended this type of education to other aspiring managers, a sharp departure from the views of their male counterparts who recommend an education that's all business beginning with undergraduate courses in business or engineering.

Just 69 of the more than 5,000 top executives were women, most of these at the vice president level, with a few senior vice presidents and very few chief executive officers. "The percentage of top-ranking women is still disconcertingly small despite a slight increase in recent years," said Herbert W. Hildebrandt, co-author of the study with Edwin Miller.

Along with favoring education in the humanities, executive women differed considerably from the men in life style. Three-quarters of the women were divorced or had never married; only 20% of them were in their first marriages, whereas fewer than 6% of the men had never married and 64% of them were in first marriages. The women were 10 years younger, an average of 37 compared with 47 for male executives.

Most of the women had worked for only one firm and were promoted from within. They recommend finance/accounting or marketing/sales as the roads to the top. They do not recommend personnel, law or research and development for aspiring vice presidents.

The male and female executives also had some important characteristics in common. Both ranked salary sixth in importance among reasons for accepting a new position, behind personal challenge, future opportunities, prestige and recognition and other qualities of the job. Most women and men executives surveyed were first-born children in middle-income families.

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