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Q&A: Gloria Steinem on sexual harassment and the state of women in politics

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HERSTORY reporter Abby Grisez sat down with Gloria Steinem when she visited campus in November to ask about women in politics and sexual harassment in the workplace.

HERSTORY reporter Abby Grisez sat down with Gloria Steinem when she visited campus in November to ask about women in politics and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Why is there a greater ratio of women in local and campus government then there is compared to state government?

Because there’s a greater level of democracy here. Probably more students in the student body vote for their representation than people in the state of Ohio vote.

Why do you think women are reluctant to run for office?

There are impediments, you know. Money – it costs a lot. Also, women have double demands, because we’re still raising children more often than men do. So, we have a long way to go until our legislatures sort of look like the country from a sex, race and everything point of view. There’s something a little peculiar about democracy.

Are we at a turning point in terms of sexual harassment in the U.S.?

Because I’ve seen the progression, I feel especially that it is a turning point. Of course it depends what we all do. But when I was growing up until I was 40 there wasn’t a phrase ‘sexual harassment.’ Now, we’re beginning to see how pervasive it is in the culture, and you know, that’s a good thing. Of course we wan’t to proceed responsibly and ethically, but consciousness precedes other change.

How do you think the ‘average Jane’ can combat sexual harassment? 

It’s about power. It is not even necessarily about sex, it’s about gender. It’s about masculine and feminine roles, which are totally made up. So, it’s about power. So, we need to work from the bottom up. We’re thankful for the revelation that has come from testimony of women who were brave to do that. Now we have to see where it is in all of our lives.

 

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