Money and jobs were the focal points of a women's fair that drew about 500 participants, exhibitors and speakers to Prince George's Community College Sunday.
Nancy Pat Weaver, who led one of several workshops, said there will be approximately 86,500 job openings a year in the greater Washington area during the early 1980s, but 80 percent of them won't be advertised.
"This means you have to be organized and creative in your job search," said Weaver, supervisor of job development services at the college.
To find out about unadvertised positions, Weaver suggests using several approaches. "Let people know you're looking. 'Cold call' companies in a field that interests you to see if they have vacancies. Find out who's in charge of a section and apply directly through that person, rather than going only through personnel. Employment agencies are good, too, but try 'fee paid' positions first."
Sources of information about the job market, she said, include the Office of Economic Development, resource books in libraries, newspapers, college career centers, college workshops on job markets, and park and planning commissions. "Another good idea," says Weaver, "is to talk with people who are already out in the field doing something you might like to do.
"Don't use market information in a vacuum. Assess your own skills, abilities and interests. Combining this assessment with information about the job market will increase your chance of finding job satisfaction."
Dolly Packard, head of the Maryland National Organization for Women's campaign for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, told her audience at another session that "things are looking up" for approval of ERA in Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia.
She urged women not to buy products that come from unratified states. "Don't vacation in those states either," she added.
Packard cited some of the inequities that she and other ERA supporters say would be alleviated by passage of the amendment. Among them are injustices in the Social Security system, unequal pay for equal work, few women in union leadership and high-level management jobs, and inequalities in credit, inheritance and insurance laws and insurance benefits paid to women.
"There are 852 federal regulations which discriminate against women," Packard said. "A lot of laws will be changed in this country when the ERA is passed. When laws are changed, attitudes soon catch up with them."
Packard is also a founder of the Women's Action Coalition (WAC) of Prince George's County and the P.G. County representative for the Women's Political Caucus. A moving force behind the Women's Fair, she noted that "It's wonderful to share the experiences of sisterhood."
The fair was sponsored by the college, the Women's Action Coalition of Prince George's County, and the county Commission for Women. Latrelle Jones, vice president of the coalition, headed the steering committee for the fair, and Susan Helfrich, executive director of the Commission for Women, was the coordinator.
Anne Eggleston, of Oxon Hill, gave out information at the LaLeche League booth, one of many at the fair. Eggleston, who is at home with children, said she was startled to learn how many women go to work after they have children. "More than 90 percent of married women will work outside the home at some point during their marriage," workshop participants were told by Jill Moss Greenberg, a member of the Maryland State Commission for Women.
Jim Hubbard, Prince George's assistant sheriff, is chairperson of the county Commission for Women and the only man in the nation to hold such a position.
Hubbard says his work in domestic violence issues generated his interest in equity. "Things should be equal for both sexes," he says. "Until men realize this is not a single issue, progress is going to be slow. Where women's rights are concerned, I feel that nothing is being taken from me. I'm for equal pay and equal opportunity. The issues under discussion here today apply to all."
Keynote speaker Mary Braxton, manager of community affairs and editorials for WJLA-TV, Channel 7, told participants that women are under-represented in television. "Less than 30 percent of the people you see on your TV screen are women."
Braxton also termed it "unfortunate" that the shows that have the highest ratings tend to focus on the physical attributes of the females involved. "Very few work network programs are about women who hold down professional careers," she said.
Braxton urged participants to express their views through letters and telephone calls to the networks and program sponsors. On the local level, she suggested writing directly to the producer of a show.
"There's a place for 'wiggle and jiggle' shows on the air," Braxton maintains, "but what about women who think?"