Women’s Movement – Past, Present and Future – Tape 1, 2 and 3, 1987
Articles,  Blog

Women’s Movement – Past, Present and Future – Tape 1, 2 and 3, 1987

Good evening and welcome to the 14th in our
series of lectures established to commemorate in 1989 the 175th the 175th anniversary of Emma Willard School. The series is funded by a special grant which
allows us to bring to campus people who have made outstanding contributions in their fields. we are extremely privileged this evening
to have with us as our guest Betty Friedan. Ms. Friedan…go ahead clap Ms. Friedan is widely recognized as the individual
whose writing launched the feminist revolution of the 1960s. The women’s liberation movement has results
in significant change and opportunities and equalities for women in the home, education
and workplace. Ms. Friedan was a founder of the National
Organization for Women in 1966 and later the National Women’s Political Caucus. The author of several books including The
Feminine Mystique. It changed my life and The Second Stage, Ms.
Friedan received in 1975 the Humanist of the Year Award. In 1982 the Author of the Year Award and was
named by Esquire Magazine as quote one of the 50 Americans who made a difference in
the last 50 years. She has acted as a guest lecturer and visiting
professor at some of this countries leading teaching institutions. Most recently she has been a fellow at the
Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Research Fellow at the Center for Population
Studies at Harvard University. Tonight she will be speaking to us on women’s
rights – past, present and future. After tonight’s presentation there will be
time for questions from the audience to be followed by a reception for members of the
Emma Willard community. in Sage Living Room. Copies of Ms. Friedan’s books are on sale
outside this auditorium and she has graciously said she will autograph those. As many of you know February 23rd marks the
200th birthday of the founder of this school, Emma Hart Willard. She was Emma Willard was a 19th century pioneer for
women’s rights and it is fitting on this 200th birthday that we have here Betty Friedan. A 20th century pioneer. Welcome Ms. Friedan. Well thank you for your generous welcome. Though I gather from my preliminary research
being my own advanced woman of the last few hours. That you are and not to my surprise a you
are the “I’m not a feminist but” generation. Right? You’re not feminists. I mean I’m not a feminist but I intend to
be an astronaut. I am not angry at you. If you say “I am not a feminist but” but I
hope before the evening is over that I might change your sense of all of this. You know. You were born about the time after the modern
woman’s moment exploded. You have grown up as part of the world you
live in is. Well let me part it to you this way. How many of you have worn a girdle. Well I there are a few dinosaurs present. But you laugh so at least you know what a
girdle is. But in case you don’t know what a girdle is
I’ll tell you. It used to be that being a woman meant that
from the time you left your house in the morning and you didn’t always leave your house in
the morning either. But from the time you left your house you
encase your flesh in rigid tight plastic sausage casing. This is what being a woman meant. You were suppose to notice that it made it
difficult to move or to breathe. When you got home and you took it off. You weren’t suppose to notice it left red
welts on your belly. Or even a deep scratch were your legs met
the rest your…around your waist. You didn’t even ask if you were a woman why
you wore this girdle. I mean did it make you more attractive to
men for instance to look like a sausage. How can you know what it felt like to wear
a girdle when you wore nothing at all under your blue jeans except perhaps pantyhose
or nothing. How can you know? How can you know? What it felt like being a woman because being
a woman meant wearing a girdle here. But that is what being a woman meant. 200 years ago when Emma Willard was born that
is literally what it meant. That she started this school. She only started this school because a tragedy
her husband loss of fortune forced her for survival to make money. She knew that women had minds ad that they
should be educated. Because women were not educated. either in public education in high school. They were not admitted to colleges. It took a woman like Emma Willard. It was an exception even to educate women’s
minds. Even to a degree of secondary education. The whole century of the battle of the first
battle for women’s rights. Where you are going to school right now is
the historic territory Seneca Falls. 1848. Women had been in a traditional way of women. To be concerned with the lives of those less
fortunate. They were not concerned with themselves. But with there were minister’s wives and other
pious women who were concerned about slavery. And when they went to an anti-slavery conference
in London and they had to sit in the balcony and they were not allowed to given a chance
to speak. They came home in Seneca Falls had their first
Congress to the Declaration to the Rights of Women. It’s not only slaves that need to be emancipated
but’s wrong with us that we can’t even speak at a congress were we are with our husbands. And they said in that first declaration of
women’s rights Seneca Falls you know. All the of value in this society restricted
to men. Are only for men. We should have the rights equally with men. And there was a 100 year battle. From the time that Emma Willard was born.
and this school was started until 1920 when women won the vote. There was that 100 year battle. First battle for women’s rights in this country. And it was going on elsewhere too. In England and in some of the European countries. The elementary rights that were won then. In is probably inconceivable to you. That the law didn’t recognize women as people
at all. We were cattle. We weren’t like children. Were like property. But they were sentient beings as people. All men are created equal. It was written by and for men. It took a battle. The focus of that battle for 100 years was
elementary right of participating in democracy. The right to vote. There was a battle and New York was a pioneer. State of New York. For married women to even have control of
their own if they earned or even of the property they might inherit from their fathers. The right to education. The right to employment, careers all of the
rights of participation in society ten were restricted to men. And that passionate battle. For the first elementary sense of women’s
rights ended in 1920. With the winning of the right to vote. It shouldn’t of ended then. In a certain sense that was the beginning
that women had the right to vote with men. The original suffragettes. She fought passionately to open education
for women didn’t believe that women should speak in the public forum of politics. And she was not a part of the Seneca Falls
Congress. Or of the original suffragette battle. Still in all the right for women to have education
was a very important part of equality. For her that was a single issue. I’m afraid that many of the women that fought
for the right to vote saw that as a single issue. And to win that right they had to fight so
hard against ridicule and opposition to prove that women were as good as men. Equal to men. They didn’t it wouldn’t of dawned on them
to question. The male model. It wouldn’t of dawned on them to deny that
women were really any different from men. For instance one of the jokes that was used
cartoons and so on and when women were fighting for the vote was there was so a woman would
be president and as the country was being invaded by a foreign power she would be lying
prone on an operating table being delivered of a baby. And so the country would be invaded by an
enemy. Because the president was having a baby and
she couldn’t declare war. That kind of ridicule you see that would seize
on women’s biology so the women that fought for the right to vote and for those original
rights they were not all this literally but in a sense it was they didn’t have children
they didn’t marry but at least they didn’t have children. They were like spinsters maybe they had to
down play the difference between women and men that women were the people women had to
prove that they could they were just the same as men to win the vote. As a result of this battle for 100 years in
an era when perhaps even more than other societies our
frontier the John Wayne type hero and the importance of the bang bang your dead cowboys
and Indians all that and the similar macho gold rush industrial revolution and all of
the things that were important and powerful they were masculine individual the frontier
etc etc. And women leave the domestic stuff to women. And the West you know the woman who ran the
whorehouse or the saloon or otherwise you know leave the culture which was very unimportant
considering all the other important things a man was doing. Leave all that soft stuff to the women. And send her roses on mother’s day. But you know the important things like making
American great these were the male things. Then of course as we move from the actual
physical frontier to the industrial frontier and women didn’t get the education and don’t
forget that women did live all that many years beyond their child bearing years and they
didn’t have any control over their child bearing anatomy was destiny in what Freud said. Even some degree of rough equality that women
had with men. In say the pioneer. They didn’t have the muscular strength but
they were certainly essential in the pioneering and the wagon trains and all that. Even that degree of rough equality was as
we went into the industrial revolution and women fought the lack of education. Were confined more and more to the youth sphere. The home and the children. Useless, soft, unimportant. Not the big strong public values that will
make America great. Alright. When Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony
and Lucy Stone and all of the them in that 100 year battle for the vote and Emma Willard
and those like her for education so on and so forth. But in 1920 when they won the vote they were
exhausted and so in the mode of having to prove that women were the same as men that
they didn’t seem unable to confront the differences they won the vote technically on paper there
was the right of women to control their own property on paper. Women supposedly had the right to enter jobs
and professions and I mean at least they talked about careers for women that was one of the
slogans in that first battle for women’s rights. but at long as you didn’t confront the reality
of women are the people that give birth to children those rights didn’t make much all
that much difference in a way. I mean women still more women were getting
a certain degree of education. High school education. But they weren’t. Now there were women’s colleges I went to
Smith. Women then didn’t go to Harvard or Yale. Or any of those places. Women went to coed universities but they were
sorority girls they were coeds. they were really expected to use their education
in professions. The reality was that most women in America
continued to marry which was the only way you could move in society I mean really it
was the only way you could be assured of any living. Of any social access. Social status, role, and they continued to
have children and now they worked a little. They got a certain degree of education. And they worked a little before marriage. Or before motherhood and in domestic emergency. Like if a husband became a horrible alcoholic
or deserted or was paralyzed. That was unfortunate that the woman then had
to go to work. or in national emergency as in WWII when we
needed Rosie the Riveter. But the majority of women worked a little
before marriage didn’t expect to have professions had children and a few women who didn’t marry
for the most part and didn’t have children when into as freaks as exceptions went into
professions. And the feminist dreams the dreams of equality
became too painful if they couldn’t be lived and they died. They died. By the time I came along after WWII I was
fired from a newspaper job during the end of the war I lost one job because of veterans
came home from the war and were entitled to jobs. but i was fired when i was pregnant with my
2nd child. that was unfair i was probably the best writer
on the staff. and i had done my job well. and i went to
the union and the union said well its your fault you got pregnant. and we had no word for sex discrimination
you say I’m not a feminist but I practically had never even heard of the word feminism
even though I had a very good education at Smith. Because by the time by the mid 40s the whole
history of that first 100 years struggle for women’s rights had been virtually buried in
consciousness in what i later called the feminine mystique kind of the Freudian the Freudian
power gave me new sophisticated gloss to some of the old ideas that were ingrained if you
will in the patriarchal Judaeo-christian tradition. of women being somehow less than full people. Women being something thought of child like
that women’s place in the home. Now with a new kinda of Freudian gloss feminine
fulfillment was not the same. as human fulfillment women’s destiny. women’s fate. women’s definition. in after WWII in the 40s when your mothers
coming of age was so in terms of her biological role solely her sexual relation to man’s wife
house wife serve a physical need husband children home. And that was feminine fulfillment. And the suburban housewife was supposedly
the American suburban housewife was the envy of women the world over and what was wrong
with her if she was frustrated in her role as woman. so in the sexual ghetto of the american suburb
which some of you may have grown up were between the hours of 9-5 nothing stirred over 3 ft.
tall. your mothers if your mother there was somehow
much as she had wanted to marry your father and hopefully 1 2 3 children and station wagon
maybe a second car and a split level ranch house or something grander. and the appliances
that we hadn’t had enough been able to have during the war and all the rest of that. as much as she wanted all these things somehow
in that suburb with no action and eating peanut butter sandwiches with the kids she felt is
this all or like bj’s wife and I’m junior and janey’s mother but who am i? You know some sense of who is she as a person
that the world was going on without her and if she didn’t have an orgasm throwing powder
into the dish washing machine you know. waxing the kitchen floor something was wrong
with her. she had plenty of guilt she had plenty of
problems if you wet the bed. the husband’s ulcers she didn’t get the kitchen
sink pure white or the shirts perfectly ironed and if she didn’t have those orgasms there
were a lot of counselors to tell her to tell her adjust adjust adjust do it better. guilty guilty guilty what’s wrong with you. you are not a perfect wife you are not a perfect
mother. back in the 1940s and 1950s the whole idea
of that previous 100 year battle for women’s rights
had been so suppressed. that i call it the problem
that has no name. that groping incoherence that doesn’t make sense. each woman felt that
she was a freak she was alone in wanting something more. then that rather simple happy housewife
image and in feminism a 100 year previous battle that ended in women’s rights had been
suppressed almost from consciousness and educated consciousness as if it hadn’t existed or else
it had been distorted if i was a very sophisticated educated Freudian sort of thing if i had heard
of these feminists at all oh they were freaks and suffering from penis envy you know they
were spinsters they were you know they were just neurotic miserable women it was nothing
they anybody would conceivably want to be i’m not a feminist but… i’m going to be
an astronaut but in this instance feminism was like a neurotic perversion. when i came
a long and said somehow i thought i would prove i was asked to do the 15th reunion at
smith after graduating from smith the questionnaire and i had been trained as a psychologist and
worked as a newspaper person i gave after i was fired from my newspaper job i was rotting
as a housewife guilderly free lancing for women’s magazines. hiding in a suburb that
i lived in like secret drinking in the morning because none of the other mothers i had carpools
or dances with for my kids or something none of them were working and it was hidden women
were suppose to exist so completely within that definition of feminine mystique that
it was solely husband children home that the woman the few and there were increasing numbers
of women that were somehow working outside the home to pay mortgage tuition but they
were suppose to feel guilty about it as if somehow they were neglecting their own femininity
or undermining their husbands masculinity or somehow neglecting the children which in
the Dr. Spock era were thought to need complete 24 hour attention of the mother or they wouldn’t
grow up they were suppose to notice that they were being paid half of what men were paid
for doing the same job the nurse had to stand up when the doctor enter the hospital. and
she might teach 3 generations of surgical residents how to do it and her services might
essentially be keep the patient alive but she could never hope for a 10th of those doctor’s
pay or status in the hospital. and women were suppose to be the secretaries and run the
offices but they could never hope to be executives. they cooked the church suppers and they were
suppose to notice that the language of the prayer book insulted them and they did the
door bell ringing the political parties looked up the addresses and so on and so forth but
they weren’t suppose to want have a say in the big decisions or running for office themselves.
and the only problem then what was making american women spoiled somehow so frustrated
in their role as women maybe it was higher education there was books called modern woman
the lost sex because women have too much education they kept from adjusting to their role as
women 15 years out of smith and i had liked my smith education i thought i would prove
that education didn’t make women frustrated in their role as women i did this rather in
depth questionnaire it raised more questions than it answered i mean maybe yes and maybe
no but some how or other when i was doing that questionnaire and when i went to this
reunion and i was interviewing some seniors then and what courses did you are you passionate
about i had gone to smith the life of the mind from Peoria Illinois it was wonderful
for me to have a life of the mind suddenly we got really passionately excited about modern
European history or the Russian novel or existential philosophy. they look at me and they say we
don’t get excited about anything like that I’m engaged i intend to go ice skating with
my children at smith what i saw from this questionnaire was i could exactly prove that
education didn’t make women frustrated in their role as women it was clear to me that
that questionnaire it was clear to me that the women who were doing best were the one’s
where education had taken like a vaccination and they were doing the most with they weren’t
quite fitting into that narrow role of women were moving beyond it in someway women that
were doing worse were the women that education had taken to it at all like these ones these
young ones now that say oh well I’m not interested in anything like that all i want to do is
have children very quickly and go ice skating with them i begin to think maybe what’s wrong
is not the education but the definition of the role of women and began to ask questions
listen to what women were saying that i was interviewing i would ask questions of counselors
and doctors and analysts and educators and others this was about the time when all the
women that had been two generations of women had a big rush to have babies their was a
demographic coincidence. there were women would didn’t have children during the depression
and women who didn’t have children during WWII were suddenly all having babies at once
to say nothing of the women that were giving up their education before college or after
one year of college under now what i was calling the feminine mystique you don’t need education
you can put your husband you can take a secretary job all you need to have is a house, those
appliances those 3.5 children as quickly as possible so everybody was having all these
babies at once and now some of these babies were going of to school and some of these
mothers who had given up their own education were banging on the doors of the colleges
what are we going to do with all these frustrated women so they would start a continuing education
program in the basement of the home ec building they were not capable go home and work on
the 4th grade arithmetic and the PTA programs framed as a psychoanalyst as i tell the women
who wanted to go back to school OK i wrote my book the feminine mystique i made conscious
the problem we have today and the history books say that was the beginning of the modern
women’s movement the rebirth of feminism suddenly there were these millions of omen
so was alone she was a freak to confess on the professional’s couch and realizing that
shared a common social economic condition as women and the problem that has no name
instead of being the personal guilt once you said that women were people broke through
that feminine mystique that defined with something less than people then you can clam your american
and human birth right the equality opportunity to participate in the valued activities of
society to earn the right to have your own voice in the decisions of your society and
of your destiny and the right to right your own name to define yourself as a person
that you shared this condition that you were crazy in want to be a part of your society
and wanting to use your abilities we began to take the girdle off nobody burned a bra
that was simply that was some sort of historical psychic coincidence we did burn bras we did
get rid of some psychic girdles and we began to let it hang out and we began to move a
little more freely and to take ourselves more seriously and then this is the same way with
the earlier movement where first thy could see the injustice that applied to the slaves
we took a lesson from the black civil rights movement and was not going to get us anywhere
and we needed a movement the was the blacks had to change society and to break through
the barriers that kept women from moving as full people and in the feminine mystique and
even in the preamble to now which is the flagship organization that i helped started and i wrote
the statement of purpose i was at least aware that either or that somehow that first 100
year battle for women’s rights stopped in some way in the fight for equality in a way
that didn’t enable the women the people that gave birth to children to have the things
that most american’s still wanted marry have children and so on but also to move in the
society and at least in the modern women’s movement even from the beginning there was
a sense that there would have to be a profound change in society for women to have equality
but the name of the game was women’s movement for equality it was not a strange or esoteric
philosophy it was simple the american ethos equality of opportunity human freedom value
of the individual and dignity of the individual applied to the people that are women and in
the beginning in the modern women’s movement and past women’s movement we fought for equality
of the male model what else could we do? everything outside the home was man’s world and when
we began women moved in that world only as freaks only as exceptions they were the invisible
people in the office and i think we saw in someways saw rightly that the issue had to
be joined in terms of equality of economic opportunity equal employment opportunity it
seemed to what really started the women’s movement was that by almost a joke in title
7 of the civil rights act of 1964 which said equal employment opportunity about the blacks
after the march on Washington as a joke Howard smith of Virginian added sex discrimination
you know that race discrimination would be illegal in employment and that sex discrimination
would be illegal in employment and the congress probably had to be adjured for the guffaws
of laughter that adding sex discrimination caused and there were just a few women then in congress
a Martha Griffiths of Michigan and Maine Margaret j smith the senate she was the only one and
they and the other they were so furious t this laughter some of them cried with anger
they were going to make those men stop laughing and they somehow there was no women’s movement
then there was no women’s vote that they took seriously the implicit threat of the vote
of 50 percent of the population we are going to make you vote roll call this and you’re
voting against women so they left it in it wasn’t going to be enforced they said equal
employment opportunity commissioner was in fact Roosevelt Franklin Roosevelt jr. i think
he said at a press conference well commissioner what do you think you are going to do about
this sex discrimination and hearsay oh hahaha i guess well have to let men be playboy bunnies
big joke no one was going to enforce it they were about to issue a decree that though the
law said you were going to you couldn’t have discriminatory advertising you could no longer
advertise wanted helped male for all the good jobs and help wanted female for maid laundress
secretary and gal Friday as long as you had a little disclaimer above in the upper corner
suing everybody that advertises here is an equal opportunity employer i was beginning
to discover a virtual feminine underground in Washington in the labor unions and so on that
where it saw the travesty here if this law was not enforced if this disclaimer was permitted
that the law would not be enforced that thing was somehow a chance that we had to join the
issue of equal opportunity in employment and i was free after all written a book about
women and gained a certain amount of fame for it and i was invited to the white house
when they needed a good housekeeping seal of approval on things but i was couldn’t be
fired through the end of the McCarthy Era when the women in Washington the underground
feminists would be fired if they did anything political at all especially women nobody did
anything about everybody started screaming at me calling me up in the middle of the night
some of the old suffragettes that were still alive and saying you go to the white house
and tell the president that he’s got to get this law enforcer hold a press conference
I’m not an organization woman i didn’t even belong to the league of women voters because
i thought these tea parties were sort of useless i got sick of all of this so i said alright
so ill come to the meeting of all of the commissioners on the status of women were being summoned
to Washington by Lyndon Johnson to have tea and cookies in the rose garden of the white
house and these to be sent home all disbanded they had made their reports and their reports
were going to be filed in bureaucratic drawers and no one was going to be doing anything
about women at all and the law the one law we had about equal opportunity in employment
was going to be treated as a joke so i said alright ill get myself into that meeting as
a reporter maybe these commissions on the status of women could act to insist that the law
title 7 if not there will be women there from all over the country that can maybe if we
need in NACP for women we can get it signed so they met in my hotel room and there was
a wonderful black woman Pauline Murray was at Yale Law School an later became an episcopal
priest and she and i were sort of convening this thing and we said well do we need to
start a movement like the blacks to get this law enforced? to get some of the equal employment
opportunity and all the other things and to get something done about these reports of
the commissioner on the status of women oh nobody wanted to rock the boat no body wanted
to do anything unladylike like that like starting an organization but they said we’ll g o to
the meeting tomorrow and insist on passing some sort of resolution to ask the president
to get this law enforced and do Pauline Murray and i they left and we were disgusted oh women
then my phone began to ring at 5 in the morning from the commissioner of the women’s bureau
was really an organization to keep the women quite and i hear your trying to rabble rouse
and get a resolution you shouldn’t do that just to get women in trouble and then the
other women that had been there and didn’t think we should do anything unladylike called
us and you know we’ve been told we can’t even pass a resolution we have no power what so
ever and these commission on the status of women so your right we need an organization
and we formed NOW and we got the law enforced and we got laws National Organization for
Women it wasn’t against men i saw this full equality for women and fully equal partnership
for men the anti man note came later ad in some way a perversion of essence of the modern
woman’s movement but it was a real expression of anger anyway we did some things tat the
blacks civil right movement had done and did some things that the labor unions had
done and we invented our own kinds of things and we got laws and court suits and class
action suits equal opportunity in employment equal opportunity in education the boss could
no longer say i wouldn’t consider a woman for this job the law school admissions officer
could no longer say i wouldn’t waste these seats on a woman or what kind of birth control
do you use you know they we got laws equal credit before the credit card was in the name
of the man even if the woman had been earning even if they had been divorced after 15 years
her’s would be the primary income she had a terrible time getting credit or a mortgage
you know on her own we discovered we decided that it was unfair you go into a woman couldn’t
get served lunch couldn’t come into a lunch at the clubs eating clubs or the main restaurants
were men did business at noon and night and at bars she would be served if she was accompanied
by a man the assumption was that a woman alone was a hooker and we got a law covering public
accommodations equal to blacks and in fighting for these laws we empowered ourselves and
each other we in some how in finding our strength to use the american method of countering of
giving people power to accouter wealth demanding equal opportunity what we did to ourselves
was as important as anything else so women began to acquire a lot of confidence we began
to question definitions of femininity we began to question the language and terms of a discipline
that completely ignored for instance the experience of woman or the history of women the burial
of the history of women and we began to say to the experts that were making women feel
so guilty about everything don’t tell me what to be a woman is i’ll tell you it was a heavy
time in 1970 when most of you were not yet born or about to be born the 50th anniversary
of the vote there was this wonderful march it was the first mass action of women since
1920 with the vote i called that women’s strike for equality it was my last act as the president
of now i could see a distortion was taking place of the women’s movement for equality
once we said women are people we had defined the problems as anything from keeping us moving
in society we had taken action on the essence essential of equal opportunity but another
generation came after us that had perhaps been even more truncated by the feminine mystique
and were full of anger they had a right to be angry for years women were not able to
be equal conscious of the anger the felt they had been put down in the office if they had
been put down at home they were dependent they couldn’t continue live if they had let
themselves feel the anger they should of felt the took it all as self hatred self degeneration
headaches pill doctors pill sellers could never quite cure they took it out on their
own bodies and covertly on their husbands and children and now this anger was out in
the open in the same time this generation between me and you that had cut it’s political
teeth in the student movement of the 60s using the doctrines of class warfare of Marxism
class welfare applied to the problems of race and they had not had much experience
of women ‘s life and they expressed their anger in an ideology that to me was a distortion
and mistake and an ideology of sex warfare if you will where woman as a whole class is
oppressed by man as a whole class as the oppressor down with man down with motherhood down with
marriage down with everything that women had ever done to attract men the brutes the male
chauvinist pigs down with everything men had ever done you know an d the brutes and the
patriarchs and the male chauvinist pigs it was sexy you know let’s have babies is test tubes
let’s have nothing to do with men do you now in a conscious raising group that my wife
came home and said the only possible position for her feminist is on top there was a lot of silliness it was like Freud
show’d how a lot of other things and jokes are when sex was suppressed would be used
to express sex desires in this era woman’s suppressed need to be full people and move
through society was sometimes expressed in sexual terms it’s easier to play out a bedroom
war then to take on the difficulties problems of getting real equal opportunities in society
but the sexual politics if you will that tried to turn it all into a bedroom war down with
men you see in my intermediate book it changed my life with my own experience in the woman’s
movement that i was also helping to lead it wasn’t right some how it was something there
that was diverting our energy and in fact if really played out it would of been impossible
because if the name of the game here was down with men was women taking the power and reversing
it first of all it was impossible i mean what are you going to do about the pentagon men
had all the power but if it really had been down with men, marriage and motherhood most
women wouldn’t want to win that game. it was just denied that element of extremist sexual
politics envied the reality of the human interdependenceness of women with men biologically psychology
emotionally it wouldn’t work i called for the women’s strike for equality to get it back focus on
the real issues which were equal opportunity in society and in fact this is the essence
of the modern women’s movement was and the sexual politics was a epiphenomenom if you
will in a certain sense created as a shock for attention for the movement and i don’t know
to this day whether it did more harm than good I’m not sure all i know id i think it
was wrong and is left is part of the reason why you say i’m not a feminist it isn’t the
whole reason the whole reason has to do with backlash and with taking the rights for granted
but the fact is we did win at a great degree of opportunity that women didn’t have before
by our marches by the class action suits by for instance the executive order we had to
say that any institution or company with a government contact that is guilty of race
discrimination or sex discrimination n that for instance has half the students women but
no women were tenure faculty positions and to take some affirmative action to end this
situation or they would lose the government contact and that was a power weapon or the
class action suit for instance where by women in CBS or women in New York Times or women
in TIME magazine who got out of smith or Vassar or whatever you could get a job as a researcher
you could do all the work for the story and the reporting but you would never get the
byline you could never be an editor and class action suit women began to have a completely
different view of themselves on that day of august 1970 went 50,000 marched on 5th avenue
even the male chauvinist sports writers said wrote in some columns all women looked beautiful
that day all women looked 6 feet tall that day it was so exciting being a woman suddenly
you felt so you looked yourself and women were really changing history and discovering
their own strength and they were getting to articulate their own experience now in the
modern women’s movement as in the suffragette battle we have in fighting for equality only
the male tools we fought under the strict rights model you
might say we needed to we had too have access to employment into earning power women’s vote
only began to mean something a few years ago by 1980 when women were beginning to earn
seriously as people then did women begin to vote a little differently from men otherwise
nobody paid attention to women’s vote to vote the way their husbands did we needed all these
rights it is important today that there are perhaps slightly percent of women in college
than men there are 40%women in medical school. women are 60% journalism students women are astronauts somehow the
bathroom problems the family bathroom before everyone got so affluent Jane heart who was the senator from Michigan
and said make him explain to you in plain English what he means like the bathroom problem
would prevent women from being astronauts space the original sputniks even today if
you have the technology to man on the moon don’t you have the technology to have a slightly
different wiring system for the male anatomy and the female anatomy i mean they don’t have
bathrooms on those things anyways there was a lot of silliness and then they got over
the silliness and now you have women as astronauts and guys as astronauts too. milestone of women’s
rights a little over 10 years ago when the supreme court in roe vs. wade recognized that
the right of the woman to control her own body her own reproductive system and to decide
when how many times and whether to bare a child was as basic as any rights that was
written into the constitution of by and for the people and that was a very important decision
let us hope there is no need for abortion birth control will make that unnecessary but
it confronted a need to have a right that was not even conceive of as a right when the
constitution was only written for men and that right to legal and safe abortion which
brought infant and childhood mortality down to an all time low when they were back alley
butchers abortions were not only humiliating but dangerous a wanted child lives and an
unwanted child does not live. this was a very basic thing almost a symbol of substance of
woman’s independence to the right wing to the reactionaries who’s power some how has
rested in keeping women passive it was not as
bad in New York as it was in Louisiana they kept women from rally having equal voice and destiny and control of our
own property earnings and what you had to do was get the constitution that it applies
equally to women and men follow your rights under the law of the united states or any
state or county but era and abortion was used right wing authoritarian power politically
economically and the churches to create a backlash hysteria to push women back down again you have to
realize that you are talking about very real things here when women whose work is increasingly
needed by the society and they are going to be paid equally when women who had been easily
manipulated by profiteer and priests and demigods passive told what to do suddenly discover
their own power and become independent and have a degree of independence and economic power
and they are not easily manipulated anymore when they have money and power they are not
so meekly set to the dictates of a priest for instance or a rabbi or anyone else that
denies their own reality. they push those uppity broads back down again it’s going to
change the whole economic temper of the society. so you have this right wing reactionary backlash.
of fundamentals of the churches economic power they don’t want to pay one of the first cases
that i ever got involved in when i was president of NOW was the stewardess who were forced
to quit at age 30 or 35 or marriage and that was sex discrimination the union of the stewardesses
filed and this sex discrimination has got to stop and the airlines put the most enormous
pressure to keep for having to fine this sex discrimination for instance i was subpoenaed
because that was one of the first cases that NOW took up and i remember i was subpoenaed
on New Year’s Eve. And they tried to get me the membership of NOW to see if there were
any of the people in the airlines it was like McCarthyism why are the airlines going to
this trouble to prevent a fining of sex discrimination surely they don’t really believe that men
ride airplanes because stewardesses are nubile they have to go to Chicago on business or
whatever but of course if you are going to force the stewardesses to quit at 30 or at marriage
you’ll never get them smart enough to union leadership to reach a certain level of pay
or pension entitlement or vacation entitlement it’s a matter of dollars and cents you see
stewardesses on the plane aging gracefully like the pilots i even saw one today with
a pregnancy outfit they even have babies and they come back ok as we moved on the issues
of equality and to the male model saying women had equal rights in all the world man’s world
we began to see another set a new set of problems that have no name and you couldn’t really
see those clear. if you just stuck with a male model we had calm in this first stage
of modern feminists complete equality women today even are only making 62 cents on the
average for every dollar that men make but we had come far enough to take our own experience
seriously as women and to begin to see that we have to get beyond that male model what
i saw when i wrote my book the second stage there couldn’t be real equality if we left
everything the way it was defined only in terms of the lives of men that had wives to
take care of the details and we tried to fit in to that male model i mean the generation
that preceded yours started dressing for success started doing just that and they even if they
had gone beyond that sort of anti man kind of excessive sexual politics down with marriage
down with motherhood business or whatever but of course if you are going to force the
stewardesses to quit at 30 or at marriage you will never get them smart enough to really
get to union leadership to reach a certain level of pay or pension entitlement or vacation
entitlement it’s a matter of dollars and cents. you see stewardesses on the plane aging gracefully
like the pilots i even saw one today with a pregnancy outfit they even have babies and
they come back ok as we moved on the issues of equality and to the male model saying women
had equal rights in all the world man’s world we began to see another set a new set of problems
that have no name and you couldn’t really see those clear. if you just stuck with a
male model we had calm in this first stage of modern feminists complete equality women
today even are only making 62 cents on the average for every dollar that men make but
we had come far enough to take our own experience seriously as women and to begin to see that
we have to get beyond that male model what i saw when i wrote my book the second stage
there couldn’t be real equality if we left everything the way it was defined only in
terms of the lives of men that had wives to take care of the details and we tried to fit
in to that male model i mean the generation that preceded yours started dressing for success
started doing just that and they even if they had gone beyond that sort of anti man kind
of excessive sexual politics down with marriage down with motherhood business or
whatever but of course so you have the dress for success super woman image that we are
just beginning to come out of where the suit of the young successful yuppy and the little
bow tie and the imitation fedora wonderful alligator
briefcase or whatever and postponing having kids how can you buck for partner or residency
medical residency hours in the hospital 12 hours out whatever it is postpone and postpone
and then kind of a malaise you have the kid finally and even now we see a new roll for
family a new role for man is going to have equal opportunity in the home as well as the
workplace and we go beyond the man helps well he wears a chefs hat and a cute apron and
makes a bbq sauce for the hamburgers while see cleans out the toilet bowl so no he’s
going to be a real equal responsibility parent we have a chart to the wall and a home computer
every one hour and 13 seconds i put in the kitchen you put it in or else big arguments
and so on and so forth even getting beyond that to everybody’s tired and equal flow he’s
in the same kind of job that she’s in and how can they have a kid i’d like to have a
kid when i’m young enough to play ball with him but she says how am i every going to be
a partner so he’s got to write it in blood that he’s going to take care of the kid if
she’ll only have one the choice to have children becomes important in a new way for men than
it ever had before so they have a kid if the grandmother doesn’t live down the street and
if she is she’s working too my children i think i have baby sat twice by law my grandson
but who has time so then you have right wing back lash let’s get the whole thing get those
women home again and then you have some beginnings of well have it all there is an implication
of if you want to have it all that you are selfish that nobody says have it all about
a man who gets the best job that he can find and he’s also going to have kids and so on
that’s just leading a complex life that’s man’s right but the woman having it all the
fact is there is a new mystique here even superwoman can she really have it all in a
workplace based on the lives of men that have wives to care for them when she’s not going
to have such a wife has to be one and a family a home that is still designed for the women
of the past of the feminine mystique that was suppose to find their whole power their
whole identity in the perfectly run home the perfectly controlled children that they do
all by themselves they have all the time in the world to do that and if she tried to be
super mom at home and superwoman at the office and she doesn’t have a she has an exercise
class there just isn’t a new kind of problem that doesn’t have a name but the woman’s moment
if it’s going to insist we not only want equal opportunity with men but it’s got to be the
same as men there is something wrong so we have to move what i call the second stage
well we move beyond the male model where we see well women haven’t even achieved complete
literal economic or any other kind of equality with men but they never will according to
that male model but at least we move far enough to have the education to have the professional
skills to really begin to articulate our own experience and put some female experience
into the model this will i think we ought to go i am not just as every other feminist
but we are also at a point where feminism itself is pluralistic it’s no longer a single
image of eve a single image eve but i and many others are saying we have only come part
of the way we had to do that we had to fight for equal employment opportunity equal education
opportunity strictly literally strict literal sex discrimination but now to really live
equality we have to go further and restructure the job the professional advancement and even
the practice of the discipline of the profession even the images of it the definition now will
be based on female experience as well as male carol Gilligan but in a different voice when
she found that that moral development philosophers from Plato Aristotle Freud and beyond have
always said that women are lacking in a sense of justice that women are incapable of moral
development that really grasp an affirmation of the purest concepts for instance justice
carol Gilligan studied at Harvard graduate school of education who had worked out some
scales to measure moral development and sure enough Larry Coburg found that women did not
achieve the same heights or purity or moral development on the comprehension of the apprehension
of abstract principles of justice that men carol Gilligan said let us measure moral development
but in terms of real life situations how you would response to your principles of justice
or any other moral characteristic or talent and on working on such scales where blind
independent judges would measure the responses men were not somehow capable of the complexity
the tuning the responsiveness to the complexity of life that moral judgments entail that
women reached a dimension of moral responsiveness that men who were suck as some abstract win
lose black white linear model never even could achieve so you could see that the scale
was based only on this male definition missed it every field i had the luck to sit in on
some sessions of women theologians catholic protestant Jewish where they are not only
working with the language of the prayer books so that everything is not just man but a concepts
spirituality that relate to life as it is live not some abstract thing divorced or separate
from life there was a recent law case that when to the supreme court you know this country
is a very backward nation when it comes to recognizing women in employment they are needed
in the workplace they give birth to babies and this is an essential service to society
so other countries take that parental leave paid and unpaid keep your job child care and
they even sometimes have family allowances but perhaps because this country is so masculine
in it’s public policy and even the woman’s movement fought for equal employment under
the male model and wasn’t too anxious to ever confront the difference the majority of the
women in this country don’t even have the right to take six eight weeks off have a kid
and get their jobs back state of California the supreme court in the case of general electric
said that a company that had disability pay policy didn’t have to pay out for pregnancy
because pregnancy wasn’t a disability it was unique to women it wasn’t a disability like
a hernia or a heart attack or whatever because you know there was no it wasn’t anything that
man had so it was not a disability though the state of California and a few other states
passes laws saying yes women could take disability leave and keep their jobs if they had a kid
so a black woman named Lilian Garland in the state of California had a kid went back to
get her job as a receptionist after a few weeks at a bank and they said no job for you well
what happened to my job well we hired a person you trained to take your place while you were
gone and she knew there was this law and that she had rights under this law so she went
to the state to demand her job back to get the state of California sued i mean the bank
sued the state of California for discriminating against man you see in other words if you
are going to say that a woman can take up it 16 weeks of unpaid but job protected leave
with the birth of a child you are discriminating against a man a few feminist groups actually
went on to file a brief technically on the side of the employer saying no we don’t want
special treatment for women because yo u know there’s this whole long tradition that equality
doesn’t recognize difference we want every bit of equal treatment of man but it doesn’t
have to be the same treatment of man i joined with some feminists some of them wonderful
feminist lawyers black leaders and others in California where i was visiting i am a visiting
professor in the women’s center to say there can not be real equality if we just stick
to the male model that it isn’t special treatment protection for women to recognize that the
human condition comes in two package and you deal with pregnancy as a factor of life that
you never had to deal with before when you were only dealing with men in the workforce
it’s not special discrimination you shouldn’t have to twist pregnancy into a hernia or prostrate
or hide it it is simply a fact of life that you deal with and if women do not have the
same right as men or the equal rights o men to chose to have kids and t remain employed
there is no equality and to the supreme court in a very landmark ruling last month an opinion
written by Thurgood Marshall said that women must have equal right with man to have families
and to remain employed and we are now i think in the second stage where it where in the
now and in the future unfinished battle for true equity women with men will deal with
the difference deal with the difference concretely structurally for instance i would like to
see passed the Shrader or congressman of Colorado has introduced a bill that would give parental
leave up to 18 weeks 4 months unpaid so it isn’t a perfect bill even so it’s a beginning
job protection you can’t lose your job take up to 18 weeks at the birth adoption or serious
illness of a child and for women or men a like as well as a serious illness of a parent
or person with medical disability know this is a second stage it comes to terms finally
that women who are the people give birth to children need equal opportunity employment
and also gets beyond the first stage in that not just looking at woman in isolation but
see not only do you need a new structure in the workforce you need an equal parental role
even though in the beginning there would be more women than men taking that leave nevertheless
you want to save that there is going to be a different kind of parenting there that we
have those polarized sex roles and maybe that was the best way for survival when women didn’t
live much longer than child rearing years when the work of the society did require great
muscular strength then you polarize men to sort of dominant win lose macho and women
to the service of family but now with all of us possibly having a lifespan of 80 years
well women have have a life span of nearly 80 years and men are dying nearly 8 years
younger than women of their age cohort because of the stricter of their male role you see
it’s not women against men in the second stage but we have to transcend that obsolete polarization
we have to not only have the right of women but in deciding the opportunities that were
only open to men before but a release and a celebration of men from the burdens of
that iron mask that prevents responsiveness to life that shovels all the values of life
onto the woman that keeps them even from responding and clues from their own bodies pains in the
joints of their own feelings and that in all the terms of our disciplines history technology
philosophy medicine law that we have a language a conceptual structure styles that integrate
the life tuning that has been woman’s experience that has value that has been never been given
as long as woman have had that integrate that with the skills and strengths that up until
now have been restricted to male and ingrate not only for each individual woman ad man
but in the very values and the definitions of society and that is the wonderful wonderful
wonderful task that is open to you in the next stage it is an adventure you know to
be there are some very serious problems on the horizon there’s the backlash that will
push women back and i will assure you that for lack of seeing the possibilities of evolution
we get locked into a role again and you see covers of Fortune or Newsweek corporate executive
guilt or that the women are going to leave their corporate jobs and go home and stay
home full time with the kids there isn’t enough
childcare in this country there hasn’t been a serious
childcare bill since one authored by Walter Mondale that was vetoed by Richard Nixon in
1971 and it isn’t easy for super woman super mom even in the upper end of economic scale
to have it all and to do a good parent a good mother a good husband sharing helping and
also to advance in a male defined profession but to go back home again another swing of the
pendulum and then to have some dangerous neo-feminism not only the outright back lash but you know
book s like a lesser life the myth of woman’s liberation you are using go home again smart
women foolish choice or the infamous Yale Harvard study if your not married by the
time you are 30 there is only going to be one man fr every 10 women and if he isn’t
gay then he’s going to be afraid of aggressive women so repent repent repent of your uppity
ideas repent of your notion go home go home go home grab the first male you can find with
appropriate you know organs and forget whoever thought of anything else if you did it if
your older sisters did it life without the girdle it would be fall worse society and
that is the wonderful wonderful wonderful task that is open to you in the next stage
it is an adventure you know to be there are some very serious problems on the horizon
there’s the backlash that will push women back and i will assure you that for lack of seeing
the possibilities of evolution we get locked into a role again and you see covers of Fortune
or Newsweek corporate executive guilt or that the women are going to leave their corporate
jobs and go home and stay home full time with the kids there isn’t enough childcare in this
country there hasn’t been a serious childcare bill since one authored by Walter Mondale
that was vetoed by Richard Nixon in 1971 and it isn’t easy for super woman super mom even
in the upper end of economic scale to have it all and to do a good parent a good mother
a good husband sharing helping and also to advance in a male defined profession but to
go back home again another swing of the pendulum and then to have some dangerous neo-feminism
not only the outright back lash but you know book s like a lesser life the myth of woman’s
liberation you are using go home again smart women foolish choice or the infamous Yale
Harvard study if your not married by the time you are 30 there is only going to be one man
fr every 10 women and if he isn’t gay then he’s going to be afraid of aggressive women
so repent repent repent of your uppity ideas repent of your notion go home go home go home
grab the first male you can find with appropriate you know organs and forget whoever thought
of anything else if you did it if your older sisters did it life without the girdle it
would be fall worse than it was for the original women the housewives that i interviewed in
the suburbs 25 years ago can’t go back home again in that sense there does have to bee
a new kind of healthcare there does have to be a new kind of workplace there does have
to be an evolved thinking of the woman’s movement the woman’s movement now you can’t
even look at it at the way you did 20 years ago so its in the society thee traditional
woman’s organization the league of women voters the junior league was key in getting the parental
leave bill and the church the women’s groups the catholic nuns they that are all feminists
in their agenda now the agenda of equality and they take women seriously even in their
volunteer roles and their volunteer roles have a new importance in the society the feminist
groups are alive and well and i think they will be if they move to the second stage and
then in addition there is new networks of the new girl networks the new networks in
each profession the women got together just to get into the executive suite just to give
them support they have to refurnish it thee has to be a new sense on your generation of
the challenges ahead not only the country the challenges of parental leave and child
care that will make it possible to have it all but the wonderful challenge of putting
female experience into every field every discipline to unbury the dimensions of women’s history
and the value of women’s experience in every discipline the dimensions of creativity that
are possible when women can take themselves seriously as artists and not only not even
either or are you going to be a serious artist or are you going to have kids but even taking
the experience of life that has been given to you using it in the art the possibilities
of love and marriage when women do have to manipulate and play games or have that buried
hostility when women can choose as well as wait to be chosen even that possibilities
of a sexuality that is affirmed an affirmed human sexuality that is not possible you know
t o have a joyous sexuality when you don’t feel good about yourself as a personas a woman
so then it became accepted that sexuality for women was either non response frigidity
of it was masochism that was considered normal female sexuality now that women are able to
get their energies out and use their energies in society and feel angry when they have to
but beyond whee you are just going to say continual suppressed rage which is i think
a lot women even those with plastic smiles are used to be in then their can be a freedom
a joyousness about sexuality. Anyway it’s yours you had better stop saying I am not
a feminist you have got to say I am a feminist and I am going to move to the next stage Ms.
Friedan has agreed to answer some questions i think to expedite things i will try to repeat
the question for her benefit and the benefit of the audience so we will take some questions
now the question asked what now is doing on an
international level especially in third world countries well again i think you just can’t
restrict it to now now the national organization for women and now has really not done a great
deal other than in especially in recent years where it has been having to fight to help
defend and save the rights in this country that we had thought we had won 10 years ago
so almost been a paralysis of the women’s movement energies that Reagan defeated the
ERA The Reagan administration tried to take away the right to abortion they removing these
social programs that are so essential to women and eroding the machinery at home for enforcing
the laws on sex discrimination in employment and education and the like removing the executive
order on government contracts removing the weapon of the class action lawsuit on the
other hand the women’s movement as a whole and certainly in so far as people like me
do represent still has certainly the modern women’s movement which started exploding here
has spread to the rest of the world including the third world especially in the UN decade
of women where in mexico Copenhagen most recently in Nairobi it was really wonderful to see
you know not that women in the third world are in the same place as women are here but to
see ideas of it equality ideas of the strength of women and the issues and priorities are
different in terms of the different levels of economic development but to see how the
commonality of men in Latin countries and African countries where we were in Nairobi
last year and in the advanced countries in a country where literacy there was a party
line in effect ten years ago very much pushed by neo-fascists and authoritarian communists
and others that did really were women of the third world to have ideas of equality so the
idea was well women in the third world don’t need equality all they need is development
now if that were true there would of been no need for a women’s movement in this very
developed nation of the united states of america clearly by the end of the UN decade for women where
there was real attempt the first two conferences to keep women from getting together on questions
of women’s rights and equality and so on and to distort those meetings on the issues that
were not relevant like anti-Zionism others its a manipulation away from the interests
of women’s themselves now it was clear in Nairobi December before last that development is common
to some third world countries but its coming for the men that the technology is going to
the men the literacy is going to the men that even the things that women did that gave them
some economic power now that we are being to get some kinds of machinery in those countries
the women no longer can go to market and have some power men are going off to the cities
leaving the women behind pregnant in the villages and the whole question of the subsistence
agriculture is left to the women and unless you have a real battle for literacy for the women that
development is going to push the women in the third world further behind so that in
those countries the main issue is not abortion its literacy and then maybe it’s some elementary
birth control but unless women have education and opportunity to earn and some security
in their own self the only way for them to have any economic security is to produce more
and more children third world women or in this country alike we get beyond the single
issue kind of political thinking that informed the battlefield for the vote or Emma Willard
with the idea that women’s education or in the first stage of the modern women’s movement
era year and abortion and these are separate single issues to what Cardinal Bernard in
Chicago would say the seamless web you see that’s its related that somehow or other you have
to have economic empowerment but you also have to deal with women’s role in the family
and you cant it’s not either or it’s beyond single issue politics that i think we are
at know in terms of third world women but in terms of women in the so called advanced
nations how do you feel the idea of a feminine draft army military a military draft for women
well the idea of a war there could always be a nuclear war and destroy all life on earth
is something that my values profoundly against so you do not want you will not see me marching
on the streets saying draft the women neither will you see me marching on the streets saying
draft the man if there was such a thing as a necessary draft for the defense of the nation
or the society there is no reason for women be exempt on the basis of sex
the second stage i went as a consultant to west point when women began to be admitted
and i saw how even in this situation that somehow you will transcend that polarization
it isn’t safe anymore it isn’t safe anymore for the future of life the evolution of life
to survival of the human species to specialize women just to the service of the human race
in terms of the values of life and free the men to play games with to use nuclear weapons
because all life will be destroyed that some how you know if there are going to be risks
or if there gotten be military service you put women and women values right in there
but at the same time those values of life have go to be now the men’s as well or the
whole plant will be destroyed so there is a way of that question is a deceptive kind
of a question that you can not give a simple answer to you have to answer it in terms of
all your values where did Ms. Friedan earn her ba and in what field did you major in
i am ba suma cum laude in psychology from smith Ms. Friedan spoke about the importance of
roe vs. wade in defining the women in society and to what extent does the abortion issue
divide the feminist movement i don’t think that the abortion issue divides the feminist
movement i think that not only the feminist movement but according to polls the enormous
majority of the society of all religions and women as well as men are absolutely for the
right of the woman to safely go medical access to abortion for choice end it is interesting
in this last election of 1986 that the attempt to put referendum on in different states
to try say make abortion illegal or to undo take away the right of abortion to poor women
you know with some medicaid funding different ways of wining down roe vs. wade we are all
defeated we are all defeated and states with very heavy catholic populations you will find
even a majority of those whose own religion would stay they who are not themselves would
abortion will say we will not impose our values that women should have that women should have
the right to chose their own conscious on the other hand i feel that we make a mistake
letting the right wing divert us to a narrow battle of abortion for instance if someone
says to me will you take this side on a debate of abortion you take the side for abortion
against for those who are for life and i say i will not i am for life but if you are for
the values and the sanctity of life the right of the people to bring only wanted children
into life and a respect for the life of the woman and of the children you are going to
have to at this stage of history avail yourself technically of the possibility able to avail
yourself technically of the possibility of abortion if birth control fails it is not
that the abortion is the value the value is life including the life of the woman and if
you let the right wing force you into false issues of fetus and all that sort of thing
you know its a diversion because as Bernard Cardinal said there is something very suspicious
out there about a supposed concern for life that can only concern itself with the fetus
in the first 10 weeks or the first 12 weeks the very people that proclaim most loudly
and in many cases critically concern for life on the issue for abortion are not a bit concern
about the danger to life of poverty nuclear war they are for very vengefully for not only
for the death penalty but they are for they are against laws that children from abuse
or refugees or against women for wife beating it is a seamless web i think that a too narrow
focus on abortion is not is unproductive i would like to see marches for instance celebrations
on this mother’s day for the choice to have children which does require maintenance of
roe vs. wade the supreme court decision that gives the safe and legal medical access to
all forms of birth control and in the last thing abortion but also would say that the
choice to have children which would require parental leave national policies of parental
leave and child care in the back there used to be a time when the feminist movement had
slogans such as women on top if you were to make up a slogan today to carry the feminist
movement through the next few years what would it be oh boy well at first of all i would
say beyond the male model i find myself saying variations of that all the time
something i can’t do this on demand put it all into a single slogan but
women in all the diversity then you know i find myself doing women and then you put parenthesis
around the man it’s not women against men it’s you know the trouble is if you say words
like human liberation it seems too vague there was a very specific step for women’s liberation
and that isn’t finished because you don’t have real equality when you still have a male
structured world so you do have to get on with a second stage but when you get on with
a second stage it seems to me more and more going to be in terms of men as well as women
and of the female values beyond the male model as values of life espoused in a new way by
men as well as women and if i say human liberation the trouble is it isn’t specific enough i
suppose if you insist that’s what i’ll say right there as the student generation enters
adulthood this student generation and the pressures put on them to be super women who
do you think they will react well i see it something interesting happening for instance
you know there is a glass ceiling now you see women getting to a certain point mid-level
in a employment and they don’t get any higher or they leave and they start there own businesses
you know that more new businesses are being started by women now then men so what’s this
glass ceiling why are women only earning 62 cents for every dollar that man earns it’s
not just overt sex discrimination there is still a remnant of that especially with the
laws not being enforced but it’s that the structures of the corporate world and the
rigidity are something that women are saying no to in different ways like i think it is
very legitimate in our own consciousness to say i don’t have to do it the way man does
it i may be as ambitious as anyone in medicine or law or whatever but i have also have a
priority that i want to have kids i will make my own pattern of trade off it’s not so easy
to do alone you see you get as in the first place you need the empowerment from others
to get say structures like parental leave or to get even possible patterns of advance
to take into account child bearing child rearing that so you see these problems as not only
personal but as political now you can’t say that should women alone be doing this then
women are never going to get anywhere equal to men in a power above the glass ceiling
and really defining the terms and so on i think in the next as your generation reaches
adulthood unless we are you now there is terrible economic depression and which case i assure
you there is going to be another feminine mystique to try and force the women home again
and it’s never going to solve any depression either and i think the central nature of women
in the economy is such that that can’t happen still all and all assuming that we can’t continue
i think that you are already seeing from some men from young men rebellion against certain
workaholic patterns that had obsessive careers models now is not there is no universal thing
i mean you’ve got all kinds of of images today you have Rambo macho macho and you have those
what did i read that 67% of the Yale graduating class will want some hideous job of investment
you know analyst or something in Morgan Stanley or something firm like hat which churns them
into human robots and they so for 5 or 10 years they will make a lot of money but they
won’t ever move get out into the daylight and they won’t be able to have any relationships
or anything like that i think that’s a terrible that was an excess of yuppy-dom that i hope
i trust that fewer women by that even men aren’t going to by especially they are all
going to be arrested the way things are going but it all may be crumbling you see the Reagan
Empire is crumbling the emperor wears no clothes these sharpies are going to jail i don’t know
who is going to get arrested next and you know there is going to be a revulsion against
the whole thing maybe the value of human life and life worth living will take an ascendancy
again even with the yuppies you can be the post yuppy generation you know back to human
values we will take one more question up in the balcony there what can be done to pass
the ERA in the year of the constitution’s bicentennial well I don’t and I think we have
to be very realistic and very pragmatic i certainly think the two hundredth anniversary
of the constitution should be a very conscious raising schools like this and places that
do consider women people have got to use this 200th year to say look this constitution does
not protect women equally with men it could be probably the basis for reintroduction of
the ERA but i don’t see a state by state campaign for equal rights amendment in the abstract
until it is a real political possibility in other words at first we have to elect a government
that is responsive again to the will of the people and when we do that if the real concern
that women not the equal rights amendment yes but also the concrete concerns of child
care parental leave and the like if for instance the democratic candidate whoever he or she
maybe will really make those issues political priorities you know that will help that candidate
get elected and with a new kind of government then and back again i think we will get the
equal rights amendment but not at the abstraction it come organically when we get we stop this
back sliding and the backlash that we have been subject to and we reassert the values
and the interests and the moment again of women and men. thank you may i may i remind
members of the Emma Willard community that there is a reception following and may i ask
or tell you all that there are books out in the foyer of this building and Emma Willard
students who purchased your books earlier this week feel free to bring them to this
reception Ms. Friedan said that she will kindly autograph those and now i will lead her through
the crowd and i would ask you please to remain seated until we get to the outside of the
hall thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *