"How do you do, I'm the first woman counsel of the American Meat Institute," said Michele F. Crown to an attractive woman in tan.
"Well, how do you do, I'm the first woman lieutenant governor of South Carolina," said the woman, Nancy Stevenson.
"I was the first woman member of the Chamber of Commerce in Cleveland, do you believe that?" interjected Margaret Kahliff, who is now on the board of directors of the Import-Export Bank. First Womans were everywhere at this particular reception, thrown by the Woman's Campaign Fund to raise funds and consciuosness. About 300 Persons, most of them females, mingled through the Textile Museum, proving that political fund-raisers for women bear a remarkable resemblance to political fund-raisers for men. A woodwind quartet played in the background.
"I'm telling you, honey, we have to do the same things the guys do," said Kahliff, who said that for 22 years she was the only woman in the vending-machine business and then ran a plastics factory left to her by her husband when he died. She is also Sen. Dale Bumpers' sister, although he's a Democrat and she's a Republican and she once thought about running for Congress. "When I was in business, I used to watch what the men would do and then I'd do the same thing," she said. "You do the same thing, only you have to do it better."
Carol Bellamy, First Woman President of the City Council of New York, compared notes with Stevenson. "How long is your term?" asked Stevenson. "Four years," said Bellamy. "I used to be in the state senate and we had two-year terms. Now I've been in office for two years and I'm starting to get itchy. I think campaigns are good for you."
"Well, in my state, the Senate and the House have to run in 1980 and I don't," said Stevenson. "It's great."
The Women's Campaign Fund, founded in 1974, is dedicated to the proposition that if more women are to be elected to office more dollars must be raised to give to them. In 1978, they distributed a total of about $100,000 among 60 or so candidates, said spokeswoman Ranny Cooper, and they hope to double or triple that in 1980. To get money from them a candidate must not only be a woman but also must have a viable campaign, need help and be "progressive" on social issues, particularly the Era and abortion.
The group is nonpartisan, although originally they tilted more toward Democrats because more of them asked for help. Sen Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.), first woman senator not elected to fill her husband's term, was on hand to prove that even conservative Republicans can get their money, as was Carla Hills, who is not a candidate but was the First Woman Secretary of HUD. Cooper said the fund get two or three requests a day from women candidates.
Reps. Don Edwards (D-Ariz.) played bartender for a while although both arrived late as the House of Representatives worked late yesterday.
"You know the old saying that if yous can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?" kassebaum told the crowd. "Well, I say if you can't stand the heat, get back into the kitchen." CAPTION: Picture, Fund-raise participants, from left; Martha Keys, Nancy Stevenson, Madeline Kunin and Carla Hills; by Fred Sweets -- The Washington Post