WOW (The Women on the Web) has a lengthy Q&A with feminist icon Gloria Steinem. Here’s a snippet:
wOw: What do you think is the greatest achievement in women’s rights in your lifetime?
Steinem: A critical mass of people here and around the
world no longer believe that biology should dictate women’s lives, so
any woman who tries to be fully human is defying God, Freud and nature
— and is crazy. That’s huge! It affects everything. That’s why there is
now a global women’s movement, including some men who see that
pretending to be superior limits their humanity, too.
Of course, consciousness changes a lot faster than power structures. We
lose about six million lives every year just because they were born
female — that’s due to infanticide, favoring boys with food and health
care, deaths from female genital mutilation, sexual assault, dowry
killings, domestic violence and the ideas enshrined in such terms as
“crimes of passion” or “honor killings.” There are also more enslaved
people now than there were in the 1800s — and sex trafficking plus
sweatshops means that they’re mostly women and children.
This country is lagging behind just about every modern democracy in
family-friendly work policies, national childcare and health care, sex
education, contraception, maternal mortality, way behind in women in
elected office — you name it.
But the big victory is that we know our fate can change, and we have
more legal tools and local-to-global groups to do it. There are now
several living generations of women — and some men, too — who realize
that the sexual caste system is intertwined with every single thing we
have to transform, from class and race and the idea that man should
conquer nature to the violence in families that normalizes every other