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Chairman Of U Women's Commission Calls Herself Feminist, Not Militant

Chairman Of U Women's Commission Calls Herself Feminist, Not Militant image
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j Virginia D a v i s Nordin has never purned a bra, chained herelf to the Kvhite House gate or belonged to a WoJmen's Liberation group. I In fact, the pert lawyer, who last week Kvas appointed to chair the University jcommission on Women, describes herjself as a feminist rather than a militant. I "Some men think anyone who has any (interest in women's issues is a militant, [ïhe term 'women's lib' has come to be identified with the most radical arm of the movement." She does advocate using the title "Ms." for all women, married or single. "Despite the fact I don't know how to pronounce Ms., I think it is a help for business correspondence. Your personal life is more or less separate from business life. It seems like a reasonable solution to a nigling problem." Mrs. Nordin, associate director of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) formerly was an instructor at the U-M Law School. She will continue to work half -time for ICLE, a joint unit of the University and Wayne State UniverIsity laws schools and the state bar of [Michigan. Mrs. Nordin, a n a t i v e of Grosse Pointe, carne to Ann Arbor four years lago as program director for the ICLE. Isince then, she has sërved as acting diIrector for six months prior to becoming lassociate director in 1968. I A 1959 gradúate of Harvard Law School, Mrs. Nordin is a member of the har Associations of Michigan, New lYork, California, the U. S. Supreme iCourt, the U. S. Sixth and Ninth Circuit Icourt of Appeals and U. S. District Icourts in California and Michigan. Mrs. Nordin's Bar activities include Ibeing a member of the American Bar lAssociation's Anti-Trust Corporation and [individual Rights sections, and she is a Igoverning board member of the CorporaItion, Finance and Business Law Section lof the State Bar of Michigan. I Mrs. Nordin balances her professional I activities with her husband, Kenneth, Iwho is working on his doctórate in I American culture at the University, and Itwo children. The oldest, Dayton, is 19 months while ■Kandra is six weeks old. For both births Mrs. Nordin took off three weeks from ■her job. "I took what I thought was a ■reasonable time," she says. I Not letting pregnancy slow her down, gVIrs. Nordin says, "This spring there lift" were lots of times I forgot I was pregnant." She used the three-week rest to catch up on her reading: "I used to read constantly. When I had the baby, one of the best parts was reading a novel." Advocating a "do-your-own thing" philosophy Mrs. Nordin says, "Everyone has to do what seems natural in regard to a career and farpily." She believes it is a legitímate concern for a working mother to wonder about leaving her children, but says, "As far as I am concerned, we need room for individual development. "If there is ever any conflict, the children come first. We do it on a month to month, year to year basis. You also have' to see how the family feels about the mother working," she says. Mrs. Nordin's duties as chairman of the Women's Commission include presiding over the weekly Friday afternoon meetings, performing administrative duties, ans wering queries and speaking on behalf of the commission. "A major function of the commission is education," Mrs. Nordin says. 'Til be happy when we get more queries." The commission office, located on the second floor of the new Administration Building, receives about 15 questions a day with two or three of those asking about specific grievances. "I have been to one meeting," Mrs. Nordin says. "I'm impressed with the I impact of the commission. I wish perpL sons in the University realized the work 'i that is being done by commission mem■-, bers." Two representa tives of the Univerja sity's Commission are concluding a - four-month investigation of possible j cases of job and salary discrimination against female employés of the Universi% ty. I 'Trs. Nordin says particularly on the pruiessional level, the investigation is showing a general pattern of women not Padvancing as fast as men. The continuaW t i o n of the investigation past four I months is under discussion. Mrs. Nordin says women, more than other minority groups, tend to blame 'A themselves rather than their sex for not I moving ahead professionally. " Mrs. Nordin was appointed chairman of the commission after Dr. Barbara Newell, former chairman, announced that she would be lea ving the U-M for a ■ post elsewhere. The chairman of the commission aci cepted the new post within 48 hours after Robben Fleming, p r e s i d e n t of the 1 University, offered it. " "He wanted a decisión fast . . . my I name was put up essentially without my 1 knowing it. I had heard there were openI ings on the commission and had done j some other business with them," she 4 says. I When asked if the Commission on Women was the University's attempt to ; white-wash the status of women after an ■ investigation by the U.S. Department of 'I Health, Education and Welfare, Mrs. Nordin says, "I wouldn't like to comki ment. I have no reason to expect it is." Í, She also says there needs to be re1; search done in all areas of academie disI ';, ciplines to determine why in the 1930s an p earlier feminist movement stopped. .- "We don't even know the f uil extent of the problem," she says, but Mrs. Nordin i believes the woman working totally in 1 the home rather than in the community g is related to an affluent society. "It's closely tied to economie factors. I The woman who stays at home is a luxj ury. Only a wealthy society can afford I it. Working at home is an attempt to reach out for a luxury society." Mrs. Nordin, who is in her early thirI ties, says, 'Tve always been interested in women's rights. As a girl I thought I I was born 50 years too late. I could have M been a suffragette B


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