Proposed Elimination of Women's Bureau
Mon, 24 Jun 1996 09:56:11 -0400

This is a copy of an e mail I sent earlier to other lists, but then I thought
members of this list might be concerned because of the work the Bureau has
done with school-to-work projects for young women.

Hello everyone-
Quietly, without much fanfare, the Women's Bureau (in Dept. of Labor) is
targeted for elimination under the budget resolution passed by the House of
Representatives. This is the only federal agency that works in support of
working women in this country. The deadline (June 7th) has already passed,
and at this point the House of Representatives have already made their
appropriations bill. However, I feel strongly that as many women as possible
should be informed of this manuever, and have the opportunity to protest. Key
contact people, other than your own congresspeople are:

Congressman John Porter
Chair, Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee
US House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20215
Phone 202/225-3508
Fax 202/225-3598

Senator Arlen Specter
Chair, Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee
US Senate
Washington, D.C. 20210
Phone 202/224-7230
Fax 202/224-1360

The Women's Bureau was born in 1920, after much activism and letter writing
convinced Congress that with so many women entering the workforce due to WWI,
a federal agency was needed to watchdog working conditions. Although the
Bureau has no legislative teeth to enforce programs, it has had a succession
of dedicated Directors who have quietly, behind the scenes (as usual!) used
empirical research data gathered by its own staff, academia, or other
organizations (e.g., AAUW) to inform Congress and the private sector of
reality, not stereotypes on the working conditions of women.
organizing for women to the post of first Director in 1920, to Karen Nussbaum
an organizer of 9 to 5, and most recently retired Director, the problems of
working women have been illuminated, defined and disseminated. The nine
Directors of the Women's Bureau have served as an international voice for
working women as well, and have been our representatives in numerous United
Nations caucuses, and for the Commission on the Status of Women, nationally
and internationally.
The WB has 10 regional offices that provide technical assistance for
community and other groups working to develop programs and policy for working
women. They also provide the opportunity for academic research through
contracts with the Dept. of Labor. Jill Miller, co-executive director called
the WB the "nation's clearinghouse for information for employers and workers
on issues that face women in the work place." True enough, but I think even
more importantly, in these days of eliminating federal entitlement programs
and privatization, the WB provides poor women a national voice that otherwise
would be limited to the state and local level.
If anyone has further questions or concerns, I would suggest that you call
your regional Women's Bureau, or the national office (I have phone numbers if
you want to e mail me privately). They also have a wealth of research
material that is mainly free of charge, and connections with many women's
I could go on and on--but I'd rather see a small ripple become a tidal wave
of protest. If this seems an important issue, please make your voice heard-
write, email, fax, discuss.
Thanks for reading,

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