Feminism is Alive and Well ... Even Sarah Palin Wants to Be One
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Editor's note: Due to a production error on Friday, AlterNet accidentally published only the second half of the transcript of Couric's interview with Gloria Steinem and Jehmu Greene. We're resurfacing the article over the weekend to make sure readers have another chance to read it through.
KATIE COURIC: The Atlantic recently featured an article called "The End of Men" that caught my attention. It stated that this year for the first time women became the majority of the US work force and most managers are now women. And for every two men who received a college degree, three women did the same. And according to the article, many moms‐to‐be would rather have a pink nursery than a blue one. So have we come a long way or are there still big obstacles on the road to equality? Joining me today are two women with a lot of expertise in the area. Gloria Steinem is a writer and journalist who is the godmother of the modern women’s movement. And Jehmu Greene is the president of the Women’s Media Center and former head of Rock the Vote. As always I’d like to say a quick thank you to the sponsor of our webshow ‐ Dove.
COURIC: First of all, let’s talk about this article. Because I know that it’s something you both read as well and you had a problem with the title. It was called “The End of Men” and that bugged you.
STEINEM: Yes, it’s a stupid (haha) title because the idea is that somebody has to win. They can’t even imagine equality. So the lack of ability to imagine equality and cooperation instead of domination is certainly a big problem in getting there.
COURIC: But don’t you think that the title was a bit misleading? The article was really about how women are suddenly – and this is something we’ll have to discuss too because there are a lot of things that contradict the very thesis of this piece ‐- making themselves known in a variety of fields and a variety of areas that heretofore they have not. That’s sort of what I took away from the article. They were trying to market the article and capture a lot of attention? Why would a magazine do that?
STEINEM: No. Well it’s possible that the writer didn’t like the title either because I agree with you that it was different from the article. But the idea that women are almost now the majority of workers in the labor force is true, but it doesn’t tell us that they’re still earning 25% less and they’re still less likely to get promoted. And you know actually it’s a big motive for men to work for equal pay for women so that men are not the hired paid ones who get fired first.
COURIC: Oh I see. In the “mancession” as they call it. Jehmu, what did you think of the article?
GREENE: I think that some of the questions she poses are harmful as well. To start off by saying “What if equality is not the end goal?” Equality has always been the end goal. And I do think that she dismissed a lot of the issues that we’re still facing, as Gloria mentioned. To casually pass on the fact that men are still clearly in control in many of the upper echelons of society ‐- it was a really brief phrase ‐- and then she went on to continue to point to a number of the advances we’ve made, which clearly need to be celebrated. Clearly we owe a lot to the work that has been done for decades. And I think though, we still have to look in the media ‐- though we’ve had great success with your show and Diane Sawyer and a lot of women who have made it in very successful ways in front of the camera ‐- 3% of the decision making positions in the media (the “clout” positions) are still held by women where 97% of the decisions are made by men. There’s a lot of work to be done.