Asturias winner Gloria Steinem reflects on a lifetime of feminist activism

Asturias winner Gloria Steinem reflects on a lifetime of feminist activism

The American activist, writer and veteran women’s rights campaigner, Gloria Steinem, has received the 2021 Princess of Asturias Award for Humanities and Communication.

Euronews Presenter Tokunbo Salako met her in Oviedo ahead of her receiving Spain’s highest honour for her lifetime achievements.

He began by asking her where her attachment to feminist ideas began.

“I believe like children all over the world, in a way, that I always was. That is when you say things like, “You are not the boss of me’, which I noticed that children everywhere say.

“In my case, there wasn’t really a women’s movement at all until I was in my late thirties. So whatever my personal feelings, I didn’t understand there could be a movement,” she says.

Does Steinem believe that the situation for women has fundamentally changed? “No, when I look at such massive factors like unequal pay or unequal inheritance or the inability to keep one’s name, then I see big injustices with sexism, with racism with group biases,” she tells Euronews.

Asked about the severe recent abortion law in Texas, she believes that the ‘vast majority’ of people agree that a woman should have control over her body.

“There are four or five men in the legislature who are impeding this,” she says, “It is like racism in that sense, it’s a system.”

Quizzed about many issues that raise her ire, she points to the ‘accidental’ election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency.

“Trump was not elected by a majority vote. It was a peculiarity of our electoral college that saw him elected and that was certainly very angering. Very angering. Just because the level of non-truth that he had and his very presence. And also just simple injustice when you see good people suffering and bad people triumphing.”

Steinem says that another concern for her is what’s known as the ‘digital divide’, where women in particular in developing countries are left without access to digital devices, social media, and the internet in general.

Euronews asks her opinion on the 2020 film The Glorias, based on her book My Life on the Road.

“I trusted the moviemaker completely, and I thought she did a wonderful job,” she says. “There were four different actresses playing me at different ages. Some of the scenes were real and I don’t know how, I mean, they weren’t even in my book so I don’t know how they became real. Like being in a 3rd class railway car, with women in India – it was exactly as I remember, so it was sort of mystical.

So how would she like to be remembered? “As someone who had a good heart and try to leave the world a little more just and compassionate than it was when I arrived,” she smiles.

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