The question of the Reagan administration's commitment to equal treatment for women came up again at the president's press conference last night when Reagan was pressed by the redoubtable Sarah McClendon about a Justice Department report on sexual discrimination in the language of many federal laws.
As he has in the past, Reagan cited the activities of a task force that is removing discriminatory language from federal statutes and tried to quip his way out of the confrontation.
Q. You have a report before you that was given to you from the Justice Department. It shows the discriminations that actually exist on the books at federal agencies and departments against women . . . . This report has not been made public. Would you let us see it, and would you do something about it?
A. It hasn't reached me yet.
Q. Yes, sir, it did. It came to you in the Cabinet meeting and you admitted at your last press conference that you had it. And I have checked this out thoroughly. [Laughter]
A. Don't tell me I'm losing my memory. [Laughter] Well, Sarah . . . I don't know of any administration that in the first 16 months that it was here placed as many women . . . in high positions, a great number of them requiring confirmation . . . and that has a task force now . . . that is working on this very question.
Q. You've got it, you've got part of it, you've got the first quarter of it, it was given to you at the Cabinet meeting by (Assistant Attorney General) Brad Reynolds and it says, there's been a lot of sex harassment of women. [Laughter]
A. Harassment? Laughter Now, Sarah, just a minute here with the discussion or we'll be getting an R rating. [Laughter]
Q. I hope you'll look into it . . . . It's been waiting to get out for years.
A. No, what we're doing . . . . I have asked 50 governors and they have all appointed a representative to go into all the statutes they can find in their states as we did in California when I was governor . . . . I'll look into that and see what it is, but I don't recall anything that really had an X rating that ever was handed to me. [Laughter]