Last week I had the pleasure of meeting the one and only Gloria Steinem (founder of Ms. Magazine and feminist activist extraordinaire) at a lecture hosted by the Arizona State University Women & Gender Studies Program. Steinem spoke to a crowd of 1000+ about “Feminism for the Twenty-first Century.” In her speech she summarized the gains women have made in the last 35 years, thanks in no small part to the feminist movement. (You can read an extended version of her summary in the current issue of Ms.)
Feminism for the 21st Century
- In 1972, 36% of women and 38% of men said they would not vote for a well-qualified woman presidential candidate. In 2007, only 11% of women and 11% of men said they would not.
- In 1972, there were only 3 women heads of state internationally. In 2007, there are 20 women heads of state.
- In 1972, women earned 59¢ for every $1 earned by men. In 2007, women earn 77¢ for every dollar men earn.
- In 1972 only one law in the US prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In 2007, 28 states and 171 cities and counties prohibit such discrimination. However, the federal government and 41 states have passed “Defense of Marriage Acts” prohibiting same-sex marriage, and it is still unclear whether the ENDA will pass.
Obviously, we have made a lot of progress in the last 35 years. But when you look at those statistics, it’s clear that we still have a long way to go.
Now in her seventies, Ms. Steinem still keeps and amazing pace. I was lucky enough to take her around the ASU campus to different events throughout the day and it wore me out. The fact that she’s still doing everything she always has for women’s equality is mind boggling. And I just hope that I’m even half as foxy as she is when I get to be her age.