When I was younger, I was very vocal to the point of being strident in my views. When you’re a kid in elementary school, you can often feel like you’re the only woman who cares about maternity and paternity leave, so you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall…In sixth grade, we all had to write this opinion paper. Most wrote about things like why we should be able to chew gum in class—I wrote about why women should receive equal pay. So I understand Britta.
Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman-Hughes, 1972 and 2014
Both by Dan Bagan
Wanna see my cry like a baby? Ask me who these women were.
Hughes’ father was beaten nearly to death by the KKK when she was a kid, and what does she do? Become an activist to try and stop that from happening to other people. She raised money to bail civil rights protesters out of jail. She helped women get out of abusive situations by providing shelter for them until they got on their feet. She founded an agency that helped women get to work without having to leave their children alone, because childcare in the 1970s? Not really a thing. In fact, a famous feminist line in the 70s was “every housewife is one man away from welfare.”
Then she teamed up with Steinman to found the Women’s Action Alliance, which created the first battered women’s shelters in history. They attacked women’s rights issues through boots on the ground activism, problem solving, and communication. They stomped over barriers of race and class to meet women where they were: mostly mothers who wanted better for themselves and their children.