The IDEA of a Washtenaw County Commission on Women has gone over like i the proverbial lead balloon with the Board of Commissioners. More than anything else, lack of communication is to blame. The women's committee to establish such a commission came on too strong in their initial presentation. The commissioners came prepared to argue dollars and cents, not abstracts like the status of women and the concept of a women's group. Common ground never was reached between the two and so naturally the commissioners were hostile to the idea. The board seems to be mainly concerned about the criticism it might draw from approving a group over which it would have no control. Another fear is that although a women's commission would cost nothing now, it would grow and have to be funded later on. ♦ DESPITE its misgivings, the board would be foolish not to see the opportunities here. For one thing, they are receiving the f ree services of volunteer women. A wide public information education gap would be narrowed, especially in such areas as: The need for publicly supported family planning services for those who cannot af ford private care; the need for hot lunches and better nutrition education in schools; improved health services for women including the aged; and the need for adequate income protection for all women on their own. Also, the need for upgrading women's jobs, better use of their abilities and more training opportunities; the need to eliminate discrimination; the need to assure continuation of schooling for teenage mothers; and the need for more women in policy making posts and in the councils of government. In Washtenaw County for example, it is estimated only half the low income women who need family planning services are being helped. Only about one-quarter of all girls 18 or under who become pregnant are able to continue their schooling. The objectives of a county commission on the status of women would be to obtain information, hold public hearings, write and publicize reports and make recommendations. Even if there were small expenses involved here, the investment would be a good one. There are worthy goals here, even if they have been imperfectly understood by the commissioners or badly articulated by the women. And we would hope that no such lingering stereotypes as Women's Liberation bra burners guide the board in its thinking on this matter. They are being asked to approve something which is needed in this county: an agency which can speak for women no matter what race or color and which can perhaps destroy some of those persistent myths about women which keep them underutilized in society and underrepresented in government.
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