Memo From Mac



The Burlington Hawk-Eye
The Hawk Eye
Burlington, Iowa

An Indication Of Changing Times 
June 27, 1983

Washington Erin Marguerite was preoccupied, showing a definite lack of interest in all the news that pervades the capital like this blanket of soggy summer heat.

She might have been interested, if she paid attention, because much of the news at least indirectly affected her.

The females of the species were still having their troubles. Sally Ride had come back, not only the first woman in space, but, as far as is known, the first astronaut to be patted on the fanny by a fellow crew member on live TV.

When the space shuttle crew was formally welcomed at Houston, a NASA official advanced with a bouquet of flowers for Astronaut Ride, but none for her fellow travelers. She turned on her heel and left the poor fellow standing there with his flowers.

Here in Washington, the high level aides, preparing for President Reagan's run for re-election, are said to be worried about the "gender gap." From the conversation I've heard, they don't quite seem to know why. But that's because they're all men.

In politics, "gender gap" refers to the fact that more men than women voted for Reagan and polls continue to show him with significantly less approval among women than men.

But what keeps impressing me more and more is not the "gap" in the approval ratings, but the imbalance in numbers, between the sexes. The preponderant political fact about women is not their views but their numbers there is getting to be so many more of them.

Personal experience may not be typical, but certainly emphasizes the point. A while back, my brother and I were congratulating ourselves on outliving the child-rearing years, and noted that between us we had 14 children 10 boys and four girls.

Then we noted that together we had 14 grandchildren 10 girls and four boys. A complete reversal in one generation.

An extreme example, perhaps. But it does fit the persistent trend of increasingly more women than men in the population. Those fellows in the White House have reason to worry about the gender gap, by whatever name. But worry will do them no good. All those equal rights attainments are inevitable just a matter of time.

Which brings me back to Erin Marguerite, the latest gender gapper in this family. She's barely as long as her name, a blue-eyed beauty take a grandfather's word for it. We were fortunate to be here for her christening, and for her very first equal-rights rally she drew a sizeable turnout of parents, big sister, three cousins, five aunts and uncles. Jimmy Carter had smaller crowds when he first started campaigning in Iowa.

She was in exceptionally fine voice, especially under the stream of baptismal water, in a sunny Northern Virginia church. They should have had no trouble hearing it across the Potomac, in the White House, if they were listening.

Of all the changes in my lifetime in race relations, religion, technology, none would have been harder for me to imagine 50 years ago, than the fact that it is now perfectly logical even if presumptuous for a doting grandfather to think that his latest granddaughter will grow up to be president. Erin Go Bragh.

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