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To arrange a media interview with Ellie Smeal or other spokespersons at Feminist Majority Foundation, contact the FMF media department at 703-522-2214.


Date: April-12-01
Contact: Julie Bernstein
Phone: 703-522-2214

Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal's Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

The Feminist Majority Foundation is dismayed by Marjorie Williams April 11th column, This Kills Women, Do feminist groups even care? which speculates that either tobacco money is buying the silence of womens groups, or feminist groups have an elite bias, or we simply dont care. Too bad Ms. Williams doesnt care enough about us to ask.

One call to our office would have made Williams aware of our strict policy against taking tobacco-related funds. The Feminist Majority Foundation never has takenand never willmoney from the tobacco industry. In fact, we are members of the National Coalition FOR Women AGAINST Tobacco, which is coordinated by the American Medical Womens Association.

As to elite bias, Ms. Williams is wrong again. Is it elite to defend millions of Afghan women and girls who live in a world where education, work and mobility have been banned? Is it elite to defend reproductive rights, to stop violence against women, to increase Medicaid funding and Social Security benefits for women, to fight sex discrimination in employment and education, to work for affirmative action, to fight hate crimes, etc., etc.?

We cannot comprehend Ms. Williams total oversight of the breadth and depth of the Feminist Majority Foundations website. The site,, includes a career center and information on breast cancer, domestic violence, womens health, student activism, women and politics, sports, policing and much more. A quick search of our daily news will reveal 25 articles including information on women and smoking. We missed the Surgeon Generals report. We will correct this immediately. We made a mistake, but dont deserve to be maligned.

No one group can do all things, so womens groups work hard to be effective in the projects each are specializing in or leading, while we join coalitions led by our sister groups on work we believe is important for women.

For Equality,
Eleanor Smeal
Feminist Majority Foundation
1600 Wilson Blvd., Suite 801
Arlington, VA 22209