Circle 018: Gloria Steinem, Feminism Today, April 29, 1980

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A group representing many different points of view gathered to hear and respond to feminist Gloria Steinem. Ms. Steinem began by discussing issues which affect women around the world - working mothers and the availability of day care and inequities of working parents...i.e. - women work and are then still expected to come home, do the housework and see to the children while men are just expected to work.

She spoke of the need for a redefinition of politics, explaining that the goals of the black, the women's and hispanic movements should be seen as directed toward attaining political and economic parity.

Ms. Steinem feels that the liberal movement is not dead in this country. She gave several examples of why she believes that it is growing, noting that growth is occurring in places like the Mid-West where it is assumed that conservatives are firmly entrenched.

She advocated reproductive freedom for women, asserting that patriarchal control of women's bodies was a way of wakening nationalism. Right-wing groups understood the gains to be made, she claimed, by advocating seizure of the rights and the means of reproduction.

Steinem called also for the redefinition of work, because work is now defined as what men do for pay. She charged that men say they agree with equal pay for equal work, but that women have unequal, low pay work, not comparable work.

She also talked about religion as another patriarchal bastion, "politics made sacred," a structure which presents a strictly male image of God. Moreover, man is also described as having been "born in sin" of a woman.

Ms. Steinem emphasized the need to disentangle violence and sexuality in order to put an end to blaming the victim when rape and battery occur.

During the question and answer period, queries covered abortion, marathon runner Rosie Ruiz, the present power of the women's movement, presidential politics, the ERA amendment and the difference between pornography and eroticism.

By Sarah-Ann Shaw (Reporter, WBZ-TV 4, Boston, MA)