President Bush’s most recent attack on women’s rights was done quietly. The Administration closed the White House Women’s Initiatives and Outreach office without a word. Since January 19, the office has been closed, and Bush Administration representatives have given no formal statement about the closing or how or if the Bush Administration intends to communicate with women’s rights organizations. “Eliminating this important and symbolic office sends a danger signal to women and women’s organizations,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “The women’s office was small but effective. It kept women’s issues and women’s organizations in direct link to White Hose decision-making. Just because a few women are in Bush’s inner circle does not mean they are representing women’s issues or interests. They represent Bush’s interests.”
Former president Clinton created the office in 1995 as a signal of his commitment to issues concerning women, including domestic violence, equal pay, abortion, and Social Security reform. The office acted as a liaison between the President and women’s rights organizations, notifying women’s rights groups of upcoming legislation affecting women, communicating women’s concerns and proposals to the President, and scheduling meetings for women’s rights organizations with White House officials.