If there is such a thing as an old girls' network, it was thriving on 31st Street NW last night.
"It's not that we don't have a network," explained Ranny Cooper, executive director of the Women's Campaign Fund. "It's just that the old boys' network raises a lot more money."
That, however, was not the WCF's problem by sundown yesterday.
Starting with cocktails and moving on to celebrity dinners all over the city, about 250 supporters paid $100 each to help women candidates nationwide. The annual fund-raising evening was expected to raise $25,000.
"What we try to do is show the candidates who don't know where to start that there is access to tens of thousands of dollars in Washington," said Cooper, as guests jammed into Party One. Michelob, fine scotch and grapes the size of Ping-Pong balls were devoured in huge quantities at the Georgetown residence of Barbara and Chill Langhorne. It was the kind of house commonly referred to as sprawling and vast.
The WCF traditionally selects about 100 federal, state and local female candidates to assist, based on the candidates' support for women's issues, such as ERA and abortion.
And true believers are not going to let a little thing like the death of the ERA dampen the movement.
"People shouldn't take the short-term defeat in battle too seriously," said Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.), a darling of the movement since he helped organize a Senate filibuster with Sen. Lowell Weicker (R-Conn.) to prevent an anti-abortion bill from reaching the floor. "Time is on our side. As more women move into the work market competing for the same dollars, they'll be hardened when they see the way they are treated . . . And the support will come."
Following the twilight party, guests were distributed to 10 dinner parties throughout the city. Among the celebrity draws were AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland, Gloria Steinem, Wes Unseld and Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America.