Feminist and activist Gloria Steinem discusses the evolution of women's rights and democracy in Asia with Asia Society President Vishakha Desai.
Vishakha N. Desai
Vishakha Desai is president and CEO of Asia Society, a leading global organization committed to strengthening partnerships among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the US. Desai sets the direction for the society’s diverse sets of programs, ranging from major US–Asia policy initiatives and national educational partnerships for global learning to groundbreaking art exhibitions and innovative Asian American performances. She has an international reputation for introducing contemporary Asian art in the US through critically acclaimed exhibitions and scholarly catalogues. Under her leadership, Asia Society has expanded the scope and scale of its activities, including opening new offices in India and Korea, the inauguration of a new center on US-China relations, and the development of new initiatives focusing on the environment, on Asian women leaders, and on partnerships among the next generation of exceptional leaders in Asia and the US.
Gloria Steinem travels widely as a feminist activist, organizer, writer and lecturer. Her books include the bestsellers Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words, and Marilyn: Norma Jean, on the life of Marilyn Monroe. She was an editor of The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History. Steinem co-founded New York Magazine and Ms. Magazine where continues to serve as a consulting editor. She has been published in many magazines and newspapers here and in other countries, and is also a frequent guest commentator on radio and television.
She helped to found the Women's Action Alliance, the National Women's Political Caucus, and Choice USA. She was the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women and helped create Take Our Daughters to Work Day. She has served on the board of trustees of Smith College, and was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a comparative study of racial patterns in the U.S., South Africa, and Brazil. She has also co-produced a documentary on child abuse for HBO, and a feature film for Lifetime..
Ms. Steinem has received the Penney-Missouri Journalism Award, the Front Page and Clarion awards, National Magazine awards, an Emmy Citation for excellence in television writing, the Women's Sports Journalism Award, the Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations, and most recently, the University of Missouri School of Journalism Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism.
Other recognitions include the first Doctorate of Human Justice awarded by Simmons College, the Bill of Rights Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the National Gay Rights Advocates Award, the Liberty award of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Ceres Medal from the United Nations, and a number of honorary degrees. Parenting magazine selected her for its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 for her work in promoting girls' self-esteem, and Biography magazine listed her as one of the 25 most influential women in America. In 1993, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. She has been the subject of Lifetime and ABC biographical television documentaries, and The Education of a Woman, a biography by Carolyn Heilbrun.
She is currently at work on Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered, a book about her more than thirty years on the road as a feminist organizer; and with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College on a project to document the grassroots origins of the U.S. women's movement.
Social movement that seeks equal rights for women. Widespread concern for women's rights dates from the Enlightenment; one of the first important expressions of the movement was Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). The 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, convened by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and others, called for full legal equality with men, including full educational opportunity and equal compensation; thereafter the woman suffrage movement began to gather momentum. It faced particularly stiff resistance in the United Kingdom and the United States, where women gained the right to vote in 1918 and 1920, respectively. By mid-century a second wave of feminism emerged to address the limited nature of women's participation in the workplace and prevailing notions that tended to confine women to the home. A third wave of feminism arose in the late 20th century and was notable for challenging middle-class white feminists and for broadening feminism's goals to encompass equal rights for all people regardless of race, creed, economic or educational status, physical appearance or ability, or sexual preference. See alsoEqual Rights Amendment; women's liberation movement.