Abzug took Carter's dismissal—or what Gloria Steinem termed the "Friday Night Massacre"—in typical stride. Commenting on her unpaid co-chair position, she quipped, "I do this on my own time. For nothing. So what's to fire?" Meanwhile, more than half of the Advisory committee resigned in protest. The following quote comes from their joint statement:
"At the White House meeting on January 12th, we expressed our concern about the President's anti-inflation program because many of his economic savings are at a cost to women and their families, who are already at the bottom of the economic ladder and suffer greatly from continuing discrimination....
The President's response was not to the issues we brought to him, but rather to use our co-chair, Bella Abzug, as a scapegoat in an effort to suppress our independence. We are especially shocked that at our 90-minute meeting with the President yesterday he did not tell our committee he was planning to ask our co-chair to resign.
We had great hopes for this committee, which attempted to cooperate fully with the Carter Administration in advancing the status of women. We regret the necessity to resign, but we see no alternative. We believe that all women and men of like mind will refuse to participate in an advisory committee in which disagreement with the President and legitimate criticism are not acceptable."
1. "I do this on my own time..." quote from Myra MacPherson, "Bella Abzug, Champion of Women," Washington Post
2 April 1998: B1.
2. "At the White House meeting.." committee statement quoted in Bella Abzug, Gender Gap: Bella Abzug's Guide to Political Power for American Women
,with Mim Kelber (Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1984) 73-4.