In 1979, Abzug formed the non-profit Women USA together with Brownie Ledbetter, Patsy Mink, Maxine Waters, Mim Kelber, and Gloria Steinem. The grassroots group conducted women's voter education and registration campaigns, ran a national hotline with activist updates, and worked in general as a "communications vehicle." A focus on foreign policy and environmental issues also led to the creation of the international organization WEDO in 1990.
In the excerpt below, Abzug details what was behind the creation of Women USA:
"We want to deal largely with the economic problems of women....It's in response to the thousands of people who communicated with me when I was fired as co-chair from the National Women's Advisory Committee, because we criticized the President's budget, which had cut back funds to domestic programs, but specifically womenis programs.
"I got letters and communications from thousands of women, and men by the way, who were not in feminist organizations, were not politically active, but had enormous economic problems....[What] they were saying to me in their very anguished and agonized letters was: 'I am a woman working, and Iim only making 58 to 60 cents on the dollar compared to the man working next to me,' or ' I'm a woman who has to go to work, and I have no child care - I can't do it, and my family needs my help...' And they wanted to know what they could do to help themselves."
1. Entire quote is from Bella Abzug, "Did You See A Revolution Go By? Part 3: An Interview with Bella Abzug," Nickel Review, no issue number or date, clipping in Bella Abzug Papers, Columbia University, 15-7.