President Reagan tried again yesterday to demonstrate that he is a champion of women's rights by issuing, more than three weeks in advance, a proclamation of "Women's Equality Day, 1983."
The proclamation, observing the ratification of the amendment giving women the right to vote, attempted to answer those who doubt Reagan's commitment to women's equality by quoting a passage from 19th century French historian Alexis de Tocqueville praising the "superiority" of American women.
One Republican who has been close to the issue said sarcastically that it was "like a proclamation emancipating the slaves."
It has been a difficult week for the White House with women. On Tuesday a touring group of women belonging to the International Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs was turned away from the White House. On Wednesday the president went to the convention of this organization to apologize, but offended federation officials by ad-libbing a remark that he recognized "women's place."
"I want you to know I've always recognized it, because I happen to be one who believes that if it wasn't for women, us men would still be walking around in skin suits carrying clubs," he said.