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Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem in Boise: 'No Way Are We Anywhere Near Equality'


- Feminist icon Gloria Steinem spoke at the Morrison Center the evening of Oct. 17. -  - CARLY ROMEO
  • Carly Romeo
  • Feminist icon Gloria Steinem spoke at the Morrison Center the evening of Oct. 17.
Speaking at the Morrison Center to the largest crowd ever mustered by a Cabin Literary Center event, Gloria Steinem said Monday evening the fight for the rights of women, people of color and other marginalized groups is far from over.

"No way are we anywhere near equality," Steinem said.

Dr. Mary Beth Staben, wife of University of Idaho president Chuck Staben, interviewed Steinem, asking about her early life, travels and political adventures—all topics of Steinem's 2015 book, My Life on the Road. Steinem, who is the founder of Ms. Magazine, a longtime activist and political pundit, world traveler, author and editor, has been an active in the feminist movement since the late 1950s. 

Among Steinem's personal anecdotes Monday evening were stories about her loving vagabond father, her enduring relationships with feminist luminaries, the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment that continues to this day and why she doesn't drive.

"No, I actually know how to drive, and I believe people should know how to swim and drive in an emergency," Steinem said to laughter from the audience. "If you don't drive, the adventure begins the moment you leave your door."

The feminist project isn't over, Steinem told the audience: In the United States, 2omen are still paid less than men for the same work, and violence against women has taken more American lives since the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 than 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Noting the history of people of color working within the feminist and civil rights movements, she went on to laud the Black Lives Matter movement as a force for social justice as well as feminism.

"There's no way to be a feminist without being an anti-racist," she said.

Before leaving the stage to sign copies of her book, Steinem offered young women a piece of advice: "Do not listen to me. Listen to yourself."