In Praise of Laura Bush

As George Bush's presidency comes to an end, it seems a fitting time to acknowledge and honor the accomplishments of his wife, First Lady Laura Bush. This is especially important because Laura Bush has often been unfairly painted as a "typical Republican Stepford wife." In addition, there have been rumors that finding a publisher for her memoirs has not been as easy as it has been for other first ladies, perhaps due to the media's bias along with their stereotypical image of her. The fact is that Laura Bush has been working in an unassuming manner for eight years, advancing many noteworthy causes -- many of them related to women's rights.

First Lady Bush's lifelong dedication to promoting literacy is well documented. As honorary ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade, Mrs. Bush convened leaders from around the world during the United Nations General Assembly session for the White House Conference on Global Literacy in September of 2006. She has often spoken about her belief that literacy is essential for achieving the goals of eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, fostering economic development, and achieving gender equality. However, Laura Bush's passion as an advocate for some of the most serious issues facing women today is almost unknown.

Laura Bush's advocacy for women's health began with breast cancer awareness while she was first lady of Texas, and has continued during her time as our country's first lady through her partnership with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. In 2007, Mrs. Bush's work to raise both awareness of and research grants for women's health issues resulted in the expansion of Texas Tech's Women's Health Institute to include the Jenna Welch Women's Center, named after Mrs. Bush's mother who is a breast cancer survivor. Mrs. Bush has continued to travel throughout the world to raise awareness of women's health issues and has just celebrated her fifth anniversary as ambassador of The Heart Truth, an organization dedicated to promoting the need for detection and prevention of heart disease in women.