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Houston Breakthrough, February 1979
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Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 12. February 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 12, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6009.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(February 1979). Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 12. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6009

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 12, February 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 12, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6009.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, February 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date February 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
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Title Page 12
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File Name femin_201109_547al.jpg
Transcript The Abzug Affair Local women Leaders react CHRONOLOGY June 20, 1978 Bella Abzug appointed co-chair of President Carters National Advisory Committee (NAC) on women. Forty-member committee to monitor federal and state government for implementation of IWY National Plan of Action. November 22, 1978 NAC cancels meeting with President. Only 15 minutes were allotted for a discussion of the major concerns of women and issues affecting them. January 11, 1979, 3:00 p.m. NAC issues press release critical of President's policies warning "that the administration's anti-inflation program will impose additional burdens upon women in increased unemployment, cut-backs in social programs, postponement of comprehensive national health insurance ..." January 11,1979, late afternoon Jody Powell, President Carter's press secretary, shows NAC press release to Jerry Rafshoon, Presidential advisor. January 12, 1979, morning Angered over issuance of press release, White House staffers meet and decide to fire Abzug. After conferring with President, they agree to wait until after scheduled NAC meeting. January 12, 1979, 1:30 p.m. President meets with NAC, telling them he wants to improve his relationship with women's groups. Shortly after the session, Hamilton Jordan, the President's chief staff aide, informs Abzug that she is fired. January 13, 1979 Twenty-six members of Advisory Committee resign in protest. Helen Copitka, Commissioner, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles: "It appears that females from New York who are competent, visible, articulate, and who do not always agree with the President will have a difficult time surviving the Washington scene. "To be fired for having issued a news release which was critical of the president's plans to cut back on social programs as part of his inflation control program, with or without approval from the full committee seems somewhat absurd. After all, part of any leadership role involves being a healthy adversary; a questioner of practices, policies and plans. It appears that Abzug, like Costanza before her, fulfilled this part of the leadership role too well. "This leads one to the question-Is there a role in government for competent women who are healthy adversaries? From the data that we have so far, the answer may very well be a resounding 'NO!' If this is the case, it raises even more critical questions about whether and how we as women can work to be heard and heeded by those in the formalized systems of government. It also raises the problematic issue of style vs. content, an issue that has caused us a great deal of consternation in the past, and one that appears to have reared its ugly head again. We have all heard before, and will no doubt hear again, Tt's not what she did or said that we object to (content), it's the way it was done or said (style).' Often what is added is 'her timing was very poor,' 'if only she hadn't said it quite that way at this time,' and so on. "One wonders, after repeated episodes like these, if perhaps all training for women to function in the world should not be conducted by Alice in Wonderland Productions or Theatre of the Absurd, since appearance and timing seem to be more critical to survival in the present than content, commitment, and competence." Carolyn J. Hartman, President, Federally Employed Women, Inc.: "It's a shame that Carter could not handle the conflict with Bella Abzug as well as he could cope with trying to impose a Bert Lance on a reluctant Congress and public. Bella is a force to reckon with, to be sure, but her aggressive, outspoken style does make people sit up and listen-and perhaps over react. "Carter's lack of understanding and committment to women's issues became very clear when he gave us the edict, 'life is unfair,' concerning abortions for poor women. This hasty firing reinforces the feeling that Carter gives little thought or significance to women's issues." Peggy Hall, President, Montrose Chapter of NOW,: I am outraged, angered and hurt by the President's treatment of Bella Abzug. She sat on the IWY Commission representing the women of the United States. Her dismissal and the method used are a clear and open affront to women. Carter has a well-documented history of tolerance for male shortcomings: Bert Lance, Andrew Young, Hamilton Jordan, to name a few. Their foibles and failings are accepted and even defended. One can only conclude from the distinctly different treatment afforded, first Midge Costanza, then Abzug, that Carter can indeed only deal with passive women. "I was also dismayed to read in the local press that some Houston women saw fit to side with the President against a sister. This does them no credit and diminishes our credibility as a movement. If we cannot support one another, at least publicly, then our success will be further delayed. "I suggest that we return Bella to the White House on our terms-as President!" Yvonne Braoch, President, Houston Area Chapter of NOW: "Houston Area NOW has protested to President Jimmy Carter his dismissal of Bella Abzug as chair of the National Advisory Committee for Women. Abzug is a fully competent representative for women on the many issues we are concerned about. It is clear that Abzug took her responsibility seriously,, and like the rest of us, believed that the Carter administration did-, too. "Granted, Abzug has an emphatic style, but most people do not consider this a detraction from her mission. Rather, it seems that her (and our) insistence that President Carter and his administration act to implement his earlier promises to support the rights of women in jobs, education, and social programs are not to be tolerated. However, we will not be so easily intimidated. "Furthermore, we have protested the manner in which President Carter dismissed the chairwoman of this important committee. It is doubtful that he would have delegated this duty to a subordinate had anyone else in a similar position been involved. It seems that President Carter can tolerate the lack of restraint in his male advisors, such as Hamilton Jordan and Andrew Young, or even illegal activities (from Bert Lance and Peter Bourne). But he is completely intolerant of a responsible, assertive woman." Olga Soliz, President, Women's Equity Action League: "In the summer of 1976 I was elected a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. My friends did not understand my early and open support of Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter as the next President of the U.S., but they, nevertheless, sponsored my trip to New York as a Carter delegate. "Bella Abzug's race for the U.S. Senate was our big topic of conversation at the convention. We had heated debates on ERA. abortion, and the issue of equal representation of women as delegates at the mini-convention in two years, but we were not to speak or to gain access to the leaders to bring these topics to the floor. Abzug, clearly one of the "in" group on the Carter team and other elected women had made deals . "At the IWY it happened again—we were kept out, or away from the speakers. Yet, I feel that with all that happened, it has created a feeling of solidarity-a feeling many of us have not had for a long time. No matter what is said about Abzug, she was right, she is our spokesperson, she has been doing it for a long, long time, she is one of our mentors, and she is one of our leaders. "We as women have a long way to go and this one more insult will bring reaffirming and repledging of our commitment to the continued fight for the rights of women, and with these rights the rights of all humankind. Con nueva energia!" Brenda Gehan, President, League of Women Voters of Houston: "Bella Abzug's dismissal by President Carter as co-chairwoman of the National Advisory Committee on Women is disappointing both for the manner in which it was handled and because of the lack of genuine interest in the cause of women's rights which it suggests. Certainly no man has been fired by the President in such a tactless manner, although many men in appointed and salaried positions in the administration have publicly criticized and disagreed with the President. "More importantly, though, this offhand way of dealing with one of the co- leaders of an advisory committee leads one to conclude that the mission of the advisory committee has low status on the President's priority list. "If Carter really is concerned about the issue of women's rights, and previous statements have indicated such concern, he owes the committee fresh evidence of his commitment. "At the same time, the committee, instead of withdrawing from the scene, should enhance its efforts to work with the administration on behalf of women's rights." Houston Breakthrough 12 February, 1979