NEW YORK -- Women have an importantrole in fighting both AIDS and the irrational fear that surrounds the disease, according to AIDS researcher Dr. Mathilde Krim, one of 12 'Women of the Year' named by Ms. magazine.
'Women are the mothers, the sisters, the friends, and yes, sometimes the wives, of men with AIDS,' the co-chair of the American Foundation for AIDS Research says.
'I believe all women must now stand up for the effective, rational protection of the public health. They must see that compassion, justice, and effective actions replace distracting, irrevelant and offensive moralizing,' Krim.
The New York expert on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome spoke out about women's role in the crusade against AIDS in a message she sent to Ms. Magazine's champagne breakfast fete for its 12 'Women of the Year' at Studio 54.
The awardees included actress Patti Davis, daughter of President and Nancy Reagan; actress Lily Tomlin; Los Angeles Councilwoman Joy Picus and eight others -- all women Ms. publisher and editor-in-chief Patricia Carbine says have shown courage and excellence by charting new courses.
Krim, was cited by Ms. for early research on AIDS, for leadership in public fund-raising, and for her use of the media to counteract fear and ignorance with knowledge and compassion.
'If the coveerage given this award convinces even a few women that they should join the fight against AIDS through educating themselves and others about it ... (it) will have accomplished much for which we can all be thankful,' Krim said in her message,
Another message, meant for awardee Davis, came from 'Mom and Dad' Reagan.
'Dear Patti,' the White House message said. 'Congratulations. Thanks for making us feel we must have done something right. God bless you. Love, Mom and Dad.'
Gloria Steinem, feminist and a founding editor of Ms. Magazine, says Davis was honored for the courage needed to 'retain her own identity despite pressures of being a president's daughter.'
Davis holds views that are opposite to those of her parents on nuclear weapons, the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion, according to Steinem.
Others receiving excellence awards, their citations and some responses:
-Lily Tomlin, New York, actress. 'For making ordinary women into stars and vice versa ....'
-Lynette Woodard, Wichita, Kans. For challenging popular stereotypes of skill and strength by becoming the first woman player with the Harlem Globetrotters. 'I accept on behalf of all women who don't listen when someone tells them it's impossible,' Woodard said. -Mae Chee Castillo an elderly Indian woman from Cuba, New Mexico. For turning a ceremonial trip to the White House (for rescuing 10 children from a burning school bus) into an education on bad roads and potholes for the President, and for becoming a national symbol of Native American pride and honesty.
-Elaine Brody, Philadelphia, Pa. For a myth-shattering study on 'women in the middle' -- who are caregivers both to their children and parents, thus warning 'us all' about new realities of longevity.
-Gale Cincotta, Chicago, Ill. For organizing Chicago neighborhoods and drumming up a $173 million multi-bank loan for housing, thus changing the practice of banking and providing a model of community power for the whole nation. 'Housing has to be a higher priority in this country,' she said. 'As an issue it is going down, down, down. It has to be promoted to up, up, up.'
-Suzanne de Passe, Los Angeles, president of Motown Productions. For leadership in combining art, business, and history to provide unprecedented television specials on black music.
-Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Princeton, N.J., and Bloomington, Ind., respectively. For co-creating 'The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women,' an historic collection that will enter studies of English literature and change the consciousness of future readers and scholars.
-Penny Harrington, Portland, Ore. For excellence and determination in becoming the first woman police chief of a major American city, and, once in office, for championing civil rights and humane values. 'Young women, keep it going,' she said. 'Get to the top and change it by being in charge.'
-Joy Picus, Los Angeles councilwoman. For designing and carrying through a landmark pay-equity agreement between unions and the City of Los Angeles. 'Thanks for publishing an article that says only nice things about me,' she said as Steinem placed the ribbon with the award medallion around her neck. 'In the words of Susan B. Anthony, 'Failure is impossible.''
The Ms. Magazine awards were launched three years ago in response to Time's 'man of the year' citations. Carbine said 12 women were chosen 'to celebrate the diversity of excellence and courage exhibited by women.'