It was a fitting symbol of the push given women's rights in America this week: The torch of the Statue of Liberty was lifted off for refurbishing and brighter illumination.
In Washington, the Supreme Court ruled that the Jaycees, one of the nation's largest all-male organizations, must admit women. The local junior chambers of commerce constitute important entry-level networks for aspiring business people in many communities. Given the need for many women to go into business on their own to get a fair shot at economic opportunity, such discrimination cannot continue. It ''deprives persons of their individual dignity and denies society the benefits of wide participation in political, economic, and cultural life,'' the court said.
And women have been making their own headway in the national political process this week. Those who might object to women activists making sure that Walter Mondale knows precisely how they feel on the subject of a female vice-presidential nominee should observe that women are simply making sure the system works for them. They're only playing the game of organization and influence the way other interest groups - ethnic or racial, regional or ideological - have been compelled to in the past. If they overreach in pressuring Mondale, they will learn something thereby.
The symbol of liberty should stand not just for immigrants but for women already on these shores: full and equal participation in jobs, cultural opportunities, and politics, under the law.