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Shelf Life

Gloria Steinem looks back on her life

Kai Ryssdal Oct 29, 2015
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Shelf Life

Gloria Steinem looks back on her life

Kai Ryssdal Oct 29, 2015
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Gloria Steinem has been at the forefront of the feminist movement for decades as an activist, a journalist and an organizer. Her new book “My Life on the Road” is a personal account of a career crisscrossing the globe as part of a international quest for women’s rights. In the memoir she reflects about her family, her friends and what events sparked her lifelong fight for equality. 

On “the road” being a male dominion:

Well, if you think about all the big stories of voyages of the Greeks and the Silk Road and through to adventures on motorcycles and so on, it has been presented as a male story. It’s kind of ironic, because it turns out that females are actually more likely to travel, but that’s because they travel to another household, and the patrilineal households probably outnumber the matrilineal households. So I wanted to say that the road is a joyous place and belongs to all of us.

On being a freelancer for 45 years:

That’s true, I’ve never actually had a job in the conventional sense, and I was well prepared for that by a father who never had a job. Actually, it was a big point of pride for him that he never had a job. But what he meant by that was that he was working for himself. That in the summertime, he was running a summer resort, and in the wintertime, buying and selling antiques. And I suppose it prepared me for what lots of people would see as the insecurity of not having a paycheck, but I just see as normal.  

If Hillary Clinton becomes president, does that mean feminism has been taken care of?

Well probably, but that will just be wrong.  The people who are saying we’re living in a post-racist age because President Obama was elected, well that’s ridiculous. Clearly racism is a factor, a huge factor, and the same will be true for women of all races if Hillary Clinton wins. But it will be a huge step forward nonetheless, both because little girls and boys will be looking at the White House and seeing that a female human being is in authority there, and also because the consciousness that comes from walking around your whole lifetime as a female person, an African-American person, it helps you make decisions that include the whole country, not just part of the country. 

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