Women for a Meaningful Summit

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Women for a Meaningful Summit was based at 2401 Virginia Ave NW, Washington DC.

Meeting Gorbachev

In Geneva, Switzerland, in November 1985, the late President Ronald Reagan and then-Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, met to hold their first face to face talks on international diplomatic relations and the arms race.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, and members of Women for a Meaningful Summit were at the event and participated in a "peace march". Marching were now-Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).and Bella Abzug 0f New York.

The marchers made their way to the hotel where the summit conference was being held. When they arrived, Bella Abzug greeted a German woman using fluent German. The woman held a seat in the German parliament, and was a member of the German Green Party. Abzug told the woman that she had a “big surprise”: a private meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev. Bella Abzug, Barbara Boxer, Jesse Jackson and Rep. Patricia Schroeder all met with Gorbachev.[1]

In all, 36 women, including Coretta Scott King and Bella Abzug, the former congresswoman, traveled to Geneva on Nov. 17 to make their views, and the views of thousands of people that they represented, known to the leaders of the superpowers as well as to representatives of other countries.

Pat Gross, 42, of Stratford, and Marie Lambeck, 52, of King of Prussia, made the trip as representatives of the Philadelphia branch of Womens Strike for Peace. Terry Zang, 54, of Paoli, a board member of the Upper Main Line League of Women Voters, attended as an individual. All three said they believed that their participation, under the umbrella of Women for a Meaningful Summit, had met with considerable success.

Gross said the Washington-based organization was formed in July by a number of individuals and groups, including the Womens Strike for Peace, Peace Links, the Ribbon Project and the Ploughshares Fund.

The objective of the group, which was funded by an anonymous donor, was to send representatives to Geneva who would peacefully express the hope that the conference would result in agreements leading to a reversal of the arms race and an improvement in relations between the two countries.

The group had two specific goals, Gross said. "The first was to present to both leaders a statement, signed by over one million Americans, which called for a verifiable, mutual moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons in space, as well as an immediate resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive test-ban treaty," she said.

"We know that's asking a lot, but we looked at the summit as a chance to take at least one step forward, and, hopefully, to work toward more progress in Washington next year."

The second was submitting letters to Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev, requesting a meeting at which each woman would be presented with a segment of a peace ribbon that had been constructed by thousands of individuals.

Neither President nor Nancy Reagan met with the delegation, but Gorbachev met for 40 minutes with several groups, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition, the SANE Education Fund, nuclear-freeze organizations and Women for a Meaningful Summit. [2]


As of May 31, 1989.

National co-chairs


Board of Directors


  1. The Political Life of Bella Abzug, 1976–1998: Electoral Failures and the ...By Alan H. Levy page 225]
  2. [Philly.com, Three Who Went To Geneva To Be Heard At The Summit By Pat Jordan, Special to The Inquirer POSTED: January 05, 1986]