There is a certain woman traffic cop at the corner of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City, and on most days feminist leaders and writer Gloria Steinem passes her on the way to work at Ms. Magazine. "It feels good to see her," says Steinem, one of the founders of Ms., "because several years ago I know a women wouldn't have been here."
It is but a small victory in a movement that's had its hare of defeats lately - defeats that cast a shadow over Steinem's appearance at a feminist fund-raiser last night. Her message is all too familiar: the struggle, Steinem said as she had said before, is very far from over.
"We've had an enormously successful first decade of support," she said, "but we haven't changed the power structure and we haven't yet begun to go beyond token change. The concentractions of wealth are still in the same places."
And so she asked for money, looking almost frail standing in the middlke of the airy, full-of-wood-and-plants Takoma Park living room of feminist supporters Bob Friedman and Kristina Kiehl. The money is to go to Ms. Foundation, a 3-year-old organization that supports women's and children's causes.*tSteinem, of course, was appealing to the right people - her audience numbered about 30 mostly young, mostly liberal men and women who do things such as photography, psychology, lobbying, writing, politicking and inheriting lots of money from their parents. The men wore loosened ties and bears (and held the babies); the women wore expensive peasant dresses, Frizzy hair and African jewelry.All were expected to give at least $100.*tTwo political figures were invited but didn't show: Reps. John Brademas (D-Ind.e and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). At the House, working late, explained the hostess.
Those who were there were serious and talked quietly about the movement and other acceptable liberal things. A few chatted awkwardly about how long it took them to find the address. J. Stanley Pottinger-(former head of the Justice Department's civil rights division), who is Steinem's host when she's in town, called upon the dozen or so men in the room to support the women's movement. "I think it's important that we as men do this," he said, "because we love women."
Pat Carbine, the publisher of Ms., circulated around the room as she added her own thoughts about the women's movement as it is in 1979. "An awful lot of people think it's over, it's dead," she said. "But Gloria has a wonderful line - that for the past seven years the death of the women's movement was announced every day at 3 o'clock."
Money raised for the Ms. Foundation goes toward child-assault prevention, rape prevention, ERA support, abortion rights, and other projects. The foundation raised $221,325 in 1978 and hopes to raise $1 million by 1981.
For some people at the fund-raiser, it was the first time they had given money to a feminist cause. Like Chuch Parrish national field director for the reelect-Carter campaign.
"Chuck's from Georgia," said Kiehl, the hostess. "I figures it was the first $100 he'd ever given to a women's project, and I thought it would do him some good."
Responded Parrish: "She means there's hope for me," adding that contributing $100 had been "painless." CAPTION: Picture, Gloria Steinem, left, Kristina Kiehl and Pat Carbine; by Joe Heiberger.