Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal's Letter to the Editor
To the Editor:
The Feminist Majority Foundation is dismayed by Marjorie Williamsí April 11th column, ďThis Kills Women, Do feminist groups even care?Ē which speculates that either tobacco money is buying the silence of womenís groups, or feminist groups have an elite bias, or we simply donít care. Too bad Ms. Williams doesnít 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 takenóand never willómoney from the tobacco industry. In fact, we are members of the National Coalition FOR Women AGAINST Tobacco, which is coordinated by the American Medical Womenís 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. Williamís total oversight of the breadth and depth of the Feminist Majority Foundationís website. The site, www.feminist.org, includes a career center and information on breast cancer, domestic violence, womenís 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 Generalís report. We will correct this immediately. We made a mistake, but donít deserve to be maligned.
No one group can do all things, so womenís 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.
Feminist Majority Foundation
1600 Wilson Blvd., Suite 801
Arlington, VA 22209