Interview With Gloria Steinem

Below are excerpts from Lesley Stahl's interview with Gloria Steinem:

Stahl: Looking back, can you pinpoint the single most significant event, chapter in terms of changing women's lives?

Steinem: The vote, because that was the symbol of becoming a person, becoming a citizen, becoming a human being instead of being chattel because we had all been ownedÂ…up until that point.

Stahl: How important has the pill been to women making the gains that we have in the second half of the century?

Steinem: You know, the first article I ever wrote was about the pill, and its sort of followed us as if we should attribute our equality to it and I don't think so at all because there are lots of other forms of contraception that are as safe and it's a questions of providing choices. So I think the notion that the pill produced the women's movement is sort of trying to make us grateful; it's trying to suppress the way movements really happen. That's not the way movements happen. Movements happen because people move. People acquire a sense of dignity and self-worth and ban together.

Stahl: If we didn't have the washing machine if we didn't have the things that freed women up from the household choresÂ…?

Steinem: It's not technology. It's how is it used, who controls it. There's nothing automatic about political change, about liberation. There's no substitute for self-respect, banding together with other people, standing up for ourselves. Liberation does not come from outside. Power can't be given to you. The process of taking it is part of the empowerment.

Steinem:We are still behaving as if a worker really doesn't have a family because the work pattern really was meant for men who really were the financial support but weren't looking after their families. We need to change this and we can easily do that. We started in this country with a seven-day workweek; we used to have a ten-hour workday. There's no reason why we can't have, especially for the parents of small children, a shorter workweek or shorter workday as an option. That is absolutely crucial if women and men are going to be full parents and lead a full life. And as we know, people are much more efficient in those kind of work structures because the companies that have experimented with flexible time have been very happy with the results.

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