"Washington area women are special," says Nancy Floyd, a 17-year resident of Northern Virginia. "They are among the best-educated, most socially aware and best-paid women in the country."

What they lack, she says, is a central medium through which they can share common experiences, gather information and express their ideas. "That's why we're launching 'Washington Woman,' "explains the editor of the new magazine.

Scheduled to hit the newsstands this fall, the monthly will cover a wide range of topics as they relate to women: life styles, finance, education, health, the arts, political issues, recreation and entertainment.

"There are 620,000 working women in the Washington area, comprising 48 percent of the workforce," notes Floyd. "They share many of the same problems and interests, and we'd like to give them the nuts-and-bolts information that will help them live their lives.

"We'll advocate the rights of women in the workplace, in the home and in the community. And we'll go after institutions that aren't treating them right, such as banks, auto dealers and the U.S. Senate.

Although the magazine, which will cost $1.50 on newsstands, will focus on career-oriented women, the concerns of career homemakers also will be covered, says Floyd.

Most of the articles will be written by area women free-lancers.

The mother of a 9-year-old daughter, Floyd, 38, says she's an expert at "juggling 30 different home and work duties at once."

She has taught high-school French, worked as a research assistant and as a librarian, and is a regular columnist for The Alexandria Port Packet.

Floyd was chosen as editor from among 600 applicants who responded to a newspaper ad, says publisher Jim Roberts, who also edits a trade association publication.

Describing himself as "a humanist active in the women's movement," Roberts began studying the feasibility of a magazine geared to Washington area women two years ago after serving as a consultant to the Alexandria Commission on the Status of Women.