A record number of women won election to major offices last Tuesday, continuing a steady march to the corridors of political power.
"Women are moving up the ladder of political success," declared Mildred Jeffrey, chairwoman of the National Women's Political Caucus. "The story of women in 1978 is in the state and local races."
In Tuesday's election, the total of women state legislators jumped from 703 to 761, or 10.2 percent of the members of all legislatures.
Women lost ground in the U.S. House, stayed even in governorships, and elected one senator. But they hold on state attorney general posts, since the only female attorney general candidate this year, Democrat Yvonne B. Burke, was defeated in California.
But a tabulation by the National Women's Education Fund shows that women, besides boosting their membership in the state legislatures, doubled their lieutenant governorships, won election to a half-dozen statewide judicial offices and a half-dozen state treasurer jobs and held onto their 10 state secretary of state posts.
Here is rundown of women in high office as compiled by the NWEF:
Legislatures - A total of 761 women were elected to state legislatures, an increase of 58. About three-fifths were Democrats. In New Hampshire, over a quarter of the legislature is female. In Colorado, Connecticut, Washington and Vermont, women count as 18 to 22 percent of the legislatures. In six legislatures, women's membership is less than 4 percent: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Utah.
Congress - The number of women elected to the U.S. House dropped from 18 to 16, but Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-Kan.) became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 12 years. There have been other women senators in recent years, but they got there by appointment.
Governors - The number of woman governors stayed at two, as Ella Grasso (D-Conn.) was overwhelmingly reelected. Dixie Lee Ray (D-Wash.), the other female governor, has two years left to her current term.
Lieutenant Governors - The number of wowen lieutenant governors went from there to six, all Democrats. Nancy Stevenson won in South Carolina to become the first woman ever elected to a statewide office); Madeline Kunin in Vermont, Jean Sadako King in Hawaii and Nancy Dick in Colorado. They joined holdovers Thelma Stovall of Kentucky and Evelyn Gandy of Mississppi. [Earlier reports that had Dick elected attorney general were in error.]
State Treasurers - Six women won election as state treasurer; Annie Laurie Gunter (D-Ala.), Nancy Hall D-Ark.), Marjorie Moon (D-Idaho), Joan Finney (D-Kansas), Gertrude Donahey (D-Ohio) and Shirely Wittler (R-Wyo.).
Judicial Offices - At least six women won election or confirmation to major state judicial offices (two had previously held it by appointment): Rosalie Wahl, Supreme Court of Minnesota; Rose Elizabeth Bird, California Supreme Court; Leila Andrews and Mary Walters, elected to the appeals court of New Mexico; Betty Roberts, Oregon appeals court; Marjorie O'Laughlin, clerk of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of Indiana.
Secretaries of States - The total remained at 10. Norma Paulus (R-Ore.) was a holdover and following nine, some of them incumbents were elected: March Fong Eu (D-Calif.), Rose Mofford (D-Ariz.), Mary Estill Buchanan (R-Colo.), Barbara Bailey Kennelly (D-Conn.), Joan Growe (D-Minn.), Shirley Hooper (D-N.M), Alice Kundert (R-S.D.), Vel Phillips (D-Wis.), Thyra Thompson (R-Wyo.),
Other - Mary Roberts was elected Oregon state labor commissioner and Bettye Frink as Alabama state auditor. Carolyn Warner was reelected Arizona state school superintendent and Lynn Simons, Wyoming state school superintendent.