Laura Bush's Feminist Agenda Is Anything but Demure

First lady quietly used her clout for every lady
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2008 8:49 AM CDT
First lady Laura Bush delivers remarks at the launching of the Iraq Cultural Heritage Project at the Iraq Embassy in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – You don’t hear much about Laura Bush, probably because her “demure librarian-teacher persona has minimized her appeal,” but women around the world owe a lot to the first lady, writes Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post. Bush has campaigned for breast cancer awareness in the Middle East, championed the women of genocide-torn Rwanda, and campaigned for women’s literacy, convinced, in Parker’s words, that “women, not men will save the world.”

Bush has a lesson for the next first lady: You have a bully pulpit. Use it. Bush herself only really blossomed in her husband's second term, but she’s been wildly effective. She was even one of the foremost voices calling for the release of Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, causing the International Crisis Group to decry her “megaphone diplomacy,” while advocating cooperation with the junta. “About that megaphone,” writes Parker. “Could we possibly get the lady an amplifier?”