Betty Ford, Champion of Women’s Rights

I will never forget the day in 1981 that I asked Betty Ford to be an honorary co-chair with Alan Alda of the Equal Rights Amendment Countdown Campaign. I thought it would be a long, involved process. But she said almost immediately that she would be honored to do so.

At the time Betty Ford, the wife of former President Gerald Ford, was one of the most admired women in the United States. She also was completely unpretentious. If she could help women win full equal rights with men under the U.S. Constitution, Betty Ford wanted to give it her all.

Read the rest of “Betty Ford, champion of women’s rights” by Eleanor Smeal at CNN. com

ABOVE: Eleanor Smeal and former first lady Betty Ford appear at a 1981 countdown rally for the Equal Rights Amendment in Washington.


  1. michelekort says:

    I suggest that, in honor of Betty Ford, the current and former First Ladies start stumping for the latest ERA bill in Congress. Come on, Michelle, Nancy, Laura, Barbara, Rosalyn, Hillary!!!!

  2. Jeanne Clark says:

    Thanks so much, Ellie, for this wonderful tribute. Betty Ford was one of the most courageous women I’ve ever known. It was (and is) an honor to stand shoulder to shoulder with her, and you, and all who love women, in the fight for equal rights. Of course, if I had known it was going to take this long, I would have paced myself better!

    Let’s pass ERA in Betty’s memory.

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