Women’s Liberation, (23 February 1972) Cleveland, Ohio

Speech Text

[1] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I present to you Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes.

GLORIA STEINEM:

[2] Something must be happening in Ohio that wasn’t happening when I grew up in Toledo.

[3] Friends and sisters, we—we started doing this, Dorothy and I, about more than two years ago now, going around the country to various groups. At first, very small groups of twelve or, you know, few people which we felt much more comfortable with because then it could be a kind of rap group and we could sit in a circle and really talk. And now we find ourselves in this old-think situation of us up here lecturing to you and we’re sorry about that, and we, we hope that you’ll feel free during the question period to ask anything, comment on anything, talk to each other, and generally turn this into an organizing meeting. No group of this size should be allowed to get away without becoming an organizing meeting, right?

[4] And anyways, we always explain if we come today and there isn’t trouble tomorrow, we haven’t really done our job. But we started doing it because, not because we felt like leaders of anything, but because we wanted very much to say to other people, and especially to women what we wished very much had been said to us much sooner.

[5] The movement belongs to every woman in this room as much as it does to us. So it’s definitely not us telling you. We’re only talking about our personal experiences. But we thank you very much for coming and taking time out of your lives, especially the women, because I think we both remember those long-away, long-far-away days, maybe three years ago, five years ago, when women would not come to hear another woman. After all, what can she possibly be saying, she’s only just another woman like us. So we understand very well that in coming here you are not honoring us, you’re honoring yourselves.

[6] I—I think what I would like most to remind you and me both of, because it’s difficult to understand really, considering the way the movement has been treated by the press. And that was really my personal reason for wanting to do this, to come around and—and speak, because I just despaired of getting any accurate picture of the women’s movement through the press which insisted on ridiculing and talking about bra burners and everything. Maybe I should say one more time that nobody ever burned a bra, in case you still think that they did, since it appears in everybody’s lead paragraph.

[7] It’s the alliteration that gets to my colleagues in the press I think.

[8] About—in 1968, at the Miss America meat-packing contest, there were a group of women, Florynce Kennedy among them, who we also lecture with, who is a terrific woman, who is a lawyer, and who’s been active in the black movement, the women’s movement, and all the overlaps of those movements for many years. That group of women threatened to burn a bra, a steno pad, an apron, a dust mop, and other symbols of oppression, but they didn’t do it because they couldn’t get a fire permit.

[9] We’ve been much too docile and law-abiding for too long but that period is over.

[10] But I especially wanted to come to—to do this because I felt, in some ways, personally responsible for the distortion by the press. After all, I’d been making a living as a writer even though they still expected me to write about aprons and lamp shades and how to make lamp shades out of aprons and so on, all the things that happen to women. And to say that which is very obvious, which is that this is a revolution, and not a reform. That it is the deepest and serious, most serious, and longest kind of revolution because the twin problems of sexism and racism are the deepest ways in which we are organized into the leaders and the led and the decision-makers and the cheap labor.

[11] They always come together. The societies that are the most racist are always also the most sexist. They apparently even had a common origin. And that’s interesting, that discovery of how these deep divisions began because it’s not something we read. Well, anyway, we read white male history—let’s face it. I mean, we don’t read, what, about minority groups in this country, nor do we read about—I mean, you know, we’re supposed to think that Africa was discovered when the first white male set foot on it and we never somehow figure out that white people are the minority in the world, in fact. And we don’t read about women at all unless they marry or give birth to or carry a pitcher of water to or sew a flag for a man, right? So, we’re really reading his-story, very literally. And we dismiss entirely the periods of prehistory, what what’s dismissed as prehistory, before patriarchy and racism were the dominant ways of social organization.

[12] Now what I’m about to say is kind of a disputed theory—I should tell you that. Anthropologists are not crazy about it, but then science is always too frequently been the handmaiden or the hand man we should say, right, the hand man, of the status quo. All the best myths have been scientifically proved and they’re still doing it, you know. Arthur Jenson is still trying to prove that the black intelligence is inferior to the white intelligence and Lionel Tiger is still trying to prove that women are inferior and can’t organize in groups and so on.

[13] But, it, the human animal was around on this earth for very much longer time than just Charlemagne or whenever it was that we started figuring out in school. And it turns out that there’s more and more evidence of the fact that the first half of human history, the first 5,000 years from say 12,000 to 8,000 BC more less were, in fact, a gynocracy, not a matriarchy which imitated patriarchy and came later, but a gynocracy which was the straight away worship of women and the consideration of women as the first-class citizens.

[14] Now, much of the reason that was true was because women bore the children and that was regarded as a superior function. We’ve somehow allowed ourselves to get talked into believing it’s an inferior function, and that it somehow makes us inferior and makes us require certain kinds of restrictions and protections and so on. But for the first half of human history it was regarded as superior and it was—I suppose you could call it a period of womb envy instead of penis envy which makes every bit, every bit as much sense to us. But much of the reason it was true was because the process of creation was not understood.

[15] It was thought that women bore fruit like trees when they were ripe. Paternity, in other words, had not been discovered yet. A day I always imagine as a big lightbulb over somebody’s head, right, and they’re saying: “Oh, that’s why.”

[16] Actually, there’s some evidence now that women discovered paternity several hundred years before they told men about it, because they wanted to preserve their independence.

[17] Anyway, with the discovery of paternity, which was as cataclysmic an event as the discovery of how to shatter the atom or how to make fire. It began to change society very drastically. The idea of the ownership of children, of private property, of passing that property down to children, the origin of—of the beginnings of a different kind of child rearing instead of the communal one that had probably existed before. The origin of marriage which was really locking women up long enough to make sure who the father was. And, in fact, very gradually the evolution of women or the devolvement of women into the first second-class group. Women were the first political subjugation. Whether or not we had children, it was easy to distinguish us by our physical characteristics and we were marked for a second-class role. Locked up in order to make sure who the father was and therefore, and also, occasionally restricted by pregnancy which soon became something less than the superior function it had previously been.

[18] We were given the work to do what no one else wanted to do. The unrewarding or repetitive or boring tasks that men did not want to do, that were not attractive to the society, and these became known as feminine tasks. That’s still the operative definition of—of feminine work, right? Anything a man doesn’t want to do. I mean, in some societies it’s digging ditches and in others it’s—it’s—it’s typing. But it’s still anything a man doesn’t want to do. In—in some marriages it’s driving to the station and paying all the bills. And in other marriages it’s staying very far away from the car and the checkbook, but it’s still what a man doesn’t want to do. And the operative, the technical definition of women’s work is shit work. So with us there, with the women there, physically marked as different, set aside, doing the second-class tasks, and so forth, when other groups were captured and brought into this situation, it was natural that they be given the role of women. They also were given the work to do what no one else wanted. They also were marked by physical difference, racial difference often, for those roles. So there always has been the closest kind of parallel between women and any other group in this society racially marked for a second-class role, any other minority group.

[19] We see it much more recently when—when black people were brought to the shores of this country as slaves. No one knew what legal status to give them so they automatically gave them the status of wives, which was chattel. And the—our legal reforms have therefore followed on each other’s heels and the last great period of coalition of the outgroups in this country was the abolitionist movement. We are probably just now entering into another.

[20] Gunnar Myrdal made this parallel very clearly when in An American Dilemma 35 years ago, if only we’d all read it then, when he said that the parallel between women, all women, of all colors, and black men or non-white men is the two largest second-class groups in this country was the deepest truth of American life.

[21] We were the groups marked for cheap labor. We were the groups on which this system, that we, the so-called capitalist system, runs. Whether it’s in our kitchens or someone else’s kitchens or factories or fields or offices, we are the cheap labor on which it runs. And the simple truth is that society could not afford to pay equally, women for the work they’re already doing, much less to value, to put a monetary value on the work that housewives do and continue to survive in its—in its present economic form or balance.

[22] So the demand for equal pay on the part of women is a very, is a wonderfully subversive demand with all the logic of sweet reason and very much part of the whole revolution that’s taking place of all these, all of us marked for second-class roles standing up and saying: “No more. We are not going to be cheap labor anymore.”

[23] Now Myrdal did not say, and no one would say that the suffering was the same because it’s clear that women lose their identities. And black people, often women as well as men, lose their lives. Women, white women, die inside. Minority groups in this country risk dying, period. But the myths are the same and our situations are so parallel that it really helps to look at them and to draw those parallels.

[24] Myrdal said, for instance, pointed out that both, all women; black, brown, yellow, white, all women and non-white men, are all said to have smaller brains, passive natures, childlike natures. We’re supposed to be incapable of governing ourselves. God forbid we should try to govern a white male, right, which is where it’s really at. I mean it’s okay maybe for women to be head of the secretarial pool and black people to take care of things in the ghetto, maybe. But it’s not okay to have any authority over, you know, politics, economics, you know, the human concerns which are the male concerns.

[25] We are supposed to be—let’s see, we don’t like to work with each other. We don’t really like each other. We also really like things the way they are, you know. The “well, my maid says that she really doesn’t like all these militants who are making all this—this trouble.” Well, “my secretary says she doesn’t really approve, or my wife or something doesn’t really approve of all these women troublemakers and so on.” We are not supposed to get on with each other or work well together.

[26] We’re supposed to be closer to the earth, right. We have more sexual natures than white men somehow. We, I guess, we have natural rhythm. We, according to television, we even have peculiar odors. I mean, there’s a whole industry based on making women feel—insecure about smelling worse than men and having to remedy that, a great expense to themselves and great benefit to Madison Avenue and the industries of this nation.

[27] I don’t really understand how anybody who’s ever passed a locker room can believe that one.

[28] But there are all these parallel myths, and they are so clear that it’s very important now that we have just begun to realize how deeply racist this society is, to whenever we hear ourselves making a generalized statement about women, to substitute the name of any other minority group and see what it is that we’re—that we really are saying. It also becomes very clear to white women as we look at our situations as they really are and look at the parallels with minority groups. That there is a reason why—and I say especially to the white women in this room, there is a reason why, we are all the time somehow feeling more related to working in movements with, in support of, or voting like minority groups. You know, we don’t vote like our husbands. We vote more like minority groups which is an unsayable thing. We’re not supposed to even look at those voting statistics to figure that out.

[29] That many of us got involved in other movements in the days when the white liberal was still alive and okay. Women were the workforce in many cases of, of the civil rights movement, certainly of the ecology movement, of the peace movement. And only through getting involved in these movements did we begin to realize that we, that we are second-class group too, did we begin to see ourselves in the parallels. And therefore, to begin to see that our lives are political. That to define politics as out there in Washington or in the state capital is wrong.

[30] Politics is any power relationship in our lives. Politics for women is who’s in—who’s doing the dishes, who’s doing the typing. If both husband and wife work why is it that the woman is still more responsible for the kids and for getting the meals? That’s politics. Politics is any power relationship in our lives. If a man gets a job in another town the wife is supposed to leave her job but not vice versa. That’s politics. We are trained to behave, to feel like a half a person so that we will be content to get paid like a half a person because we still—women across the board only make between 50 and 60 percent of what a man makes for the very same work.

[31] And of course, we don’t have access to the higher level of jobs at all. We, we are still supposed to behave politically like half people. We are supposed to enter into a marriage which is legally designed for a person and a half. We are, we, we are just beginning to realize that our lives are political—that women’s situation does not come from biology, was not ordained by God in any way. It’s very suspicious that God always looks exactly like the ruling class.

[32] I had some—some problems with the word “evangelist” in the introduction. I don’t think that we’re, you know, we’re not interested in that. There’s enough harm that’s been done in the name of religion already.

[33] That as this begins to happen we begin to see that we are acting in our own enlightened self-interest by making a coalition of the outs. We become trustworthy for the first time, us white women, because we have been radicalized on our own concerns and begun to act in a healthy way in coalition with other people who have the same concerns.

[34] I suppose, the, the—the biggest way that we are kept down is through all these biological arguments so maybe we should deal with them for a minute even though I hope that they are not that popular anymore. But the idea that, for instance, earlier today in the law school we were talking about the notion that bearing a child, that is, you know, you say okay, a woman spends a year bearing and nurturing a child. That’s supposed to somehow make her responsible for the child for the rest, you know, to the age of 18, more than men. But women have just made a very revolutionary discovery which is that kids have two parents and that there’s no reason why you couldn’t look at it the other way. That, for instance, if a woman spends a year bearing and nurturing a child, why shouldn’t the man spend that much more than half the time taking care of the child? That’s female logic. Logic is in the eye of the logician. All of these arguments that have been used against us can just as easily be used the other way. The biological one that’s very prevalent even now is, that male, is the hormonal argument.

[35] If you’ll remember Dr. Edgar Berman, who is an advisor to Hubert Humphrey. Actually, he’s his doctor, you know, I mean, all male politicians seem—seem to have some—a doctor around who has given up healing the sick and who is now rubbing the back of the candidate in the hope of getting in the White House, and Edgar Berman was playing that role and he put forth the argument at the Democratic Policy Council that women were unfit for leadership positions due to raging hormonal problems and, you wouldn’t want a woman in the White House during the Bay of Pigs, would you, he said. A “menopausal woman” during the—well, we had a non-menopausal man and it didn’t work out too well.

[36] So, now the argument from which that stems, the whole hormonal thing, is really based on a very slender proof which means that large quantities of the male hormone, and I mean large. Too large to be practical in any—in any case but large quantities of the male hormone are supposed to make an individual more restless and irritable. Large quantities of the female hormone is supposed to make the individual more calm. That has been used as an argument for why men should be in politics. I mean you can turn it the other way around, right. Maybe we should give Agnew a shot of female hormones. That—it doesn’t—all I’m trying to point out is all the arguments that are used against us are only viable because we allow their logic to continue. Just as the arguments used against black people were only viable under those conditions. The general premise of them all is that the white male is the norm and all the rest of us are aberrations and require adjectives, you know, the black politician, woman novelist, and so on.

[37] A white male is the norm. And therefore, the black community was deficient in—insofar as it did not totally imitate and duplicate the white community and women were deficient because they did not totally fit the male pattern. Well, there are 53 percent women. You know, I mean by majority, the pattern of the norm should be ours, but we don’t want to say that one group is, is superior to the other. We don’t want to repeat a masculine mistake. What we’re trying to point out is that there is much more that is human and the same about us than is race or sex-defined and—and different.

[38] The generalized group difference between males and females, the genital differences, or the differences between racial groups of skin pigmentation or features or hair. Those differences are very, very, very much less great than the probable differences between two individual members of the same group, between two women, between two men, between two black people, between two whites. It’s the individual differences that are, by far, the most important and the greatest. So it only makes sense to make all of our job requirements and lifestyle requirements based on the individual and never, never on the group of birth.

[39] Florynce Kennedy, who, our friend the lawyer, always says that—well, she puts it much more succinctly. She says, “Listen, you know, there aren’t very many jobs that actually require a penis or a vagina and all other jobs should be open to everybody.” Now, it’s, I think, I think, we speak to all different kinds of, of groups but it’s perhaps, especially important at, for students. I know it would have been for me, you know, to, to hear this because you are, as students, we are at the peak of our political indoctrination.

[40] At the very time when women should be dreaming the biggest dreams and hoping the biggest hopes, we are at the peak of pressure to get married, to subscribe to Bride’s magazine in our junior year, to not see beyond, the, you know, the marriage is here and then it’s kind of a mist out there—you don’t know what’s going to happen. To attach yourself in a very parasitical and inhuman fashion which ends up by punishing men, to a man, and his career and his identity, to become male-identified.

[41] As an example of male training, which is my favorite, I just, I mean of political training, I would give you this. I mean, besides everything we know about what happens in the classrooms, you know, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing as a lawyer?” “What’s…” We don’t read about ourselves in the books. The professors are inadvertently or advertently racist and sexist in their assumptions of what our role’s going to be in in life and so with all that we know about. But there are more subtle pressures.

[42] For instance, a man and two women friends are going to the movies, say on a Saturday night and they’re friends and they respect and like—they’ve decided to go to a movie. At the very last minute, a man calls one of them. The man is 4’2 and has terminal acne and no redeeming features of any kind, right. We give him a chance for redeeming features. I would like to point that out—that’s more than they give to us. But the woman goes like a shot because she has been trained all her life to feel she is nothing without a man, to feel she has no identity without a man. She has become, in effect, a man junkie. She needs a shot of identity because unless she has, in life or on Saturday night, a man standing there, she is not a person. And if men only understood how little it matters which man . . . I mean it’s still going on, right?

[43] I mean, I went to college in the ‘50s and I always think well maybe it’s not so bad now. But it works against any possible fulfillment, and indeed, against any possible relationship between a man and a woman.

[44] There really can be no love between unequals. As soon as the woman believes that she needs the man much more than he needs her, as soon as she becomes economically, socially, psychologically dependent upon him more than he is on her, a lot of very bad things begin to happen; a lot of “Uncle Tomming,” which means giggling and laughing and saying how clever of you to know what year it is, a lot of concealing. Alright, listen, I hope the men are listening because we do this so well and all the time, you have no idea how much you are being “Uncle Tommed.”

[45] And you must understand that when we, when we turn our anger and our humiliation and frustration outward, when we stop this lying and “Uncle Tomming” and turning it all inward as depression and guilt, that is—we are exhibiting health. And furthermore, we are honoring men by telling them the truth. We—but anyway, the whole area of—of political education, and it is in fact political, of getting us to—to behave in those so-called feminine ways and the so-called feminine characteristics are exactly those which are valued in all second-class groups.

[46] Dominance, aggression, initiative, drive, those are all things that are valued in the first-class group. Submissiveness, willing to play one’s role, compassion, gentleness, and so on are valued in the second-class group. Guess why?

[47] We are beginning to see that that socialization process is political. We, women of all racial groups and economic groups and social groups, are beginning to see that it is political, that they have common concerns. Yes, black women have different problems, white women have different problems. We organize around those problem, but we also share more problems than we do not share. So we are beginning to cross those boundaries that have been set up for us.

[48] Women organizing on campus no longer are so likely to organize as just the women professors, just the women students. We now understand that it’s the women, period, who are getting shat on. Whether it’s the women professors, the students, the women who work in the cafeterias or the women who are the secretaries. And that this division of labor according to physical appearance is what—is the fundamental division that we share with all second-class groups. And therefore, larger coalitions on the larger issues are happening on campus now and it’s really the only way it’s going to work because otherwise, we will continue to be foiled constantly by “divide and conquer.”

[49] I think that for students, you know, this, the realization of what is and is not political and what is and is not real and necessary, what is socialization and what is not. Where our real interests lie is perhaps the single most important part of our education. This really is a revolution that we live every day. It’s not one that’s 8,000 miles away some place—it affects everything we do. It affects the values of the campus. It affects, you know, the law school that we spoke at this morning and what kinds of courses, what kinds of behavior, who is there . . . you know, I gather there are 5 percent women and 3 percent blacks . . . And why that is. It affects our courses which women and minority men are beginning to examine for racism and sexism and to publish those results by, you know—through—in order to get different textbooks, in order to get black studies, women studies.

[50] Really, what we need is remedial history, right, so we can put it all back together again eventually as human history. To assess our professors and what they’re doing to us, whether it’s on purpose or not, in trying to guide us into certain kinds of professions that they think are better for our race or sex role. It affects childcare on this campus, which should be provided free by the university for every parent on this campus. And which—which—which in a larger sense, should be provided by our tax dollar in this country.

[51] Civilized countries have childcare. We had childcare when it wasn’t desirable to force women into the factories to work during World War II. As soon as World War II was over, the childcare centers shut down, shut down. It’s economics. It’s not Nixon’s notion of, of the family in its nuclear form, you know, with 2.2 children and Pat Nixon with white gloves welded to her wrists, I always think of her with one. It’s not that—it’s—it’s simply—it’s politics. It’s—it’s economic need. It’s the values of this campus. How jockacratic [sic] are they? How much money is spent on the athletic department?

[52] Why can’t women demand the same budget that is going to the men in the . . . [inaudible] in the athletic department?

[53] If, if men can get in their little busses and go off, you know, to play with some other basketball team, why can’t women have busses to go off and, you know, organize with other women or play basketball if they, or do whatever they want with? But it’s vastly unequal the amount of money that’s being spent.

[54] Are there adequate collections of books on women and on minority groups in this country in the library so we can learn about ourselves, so that we can read about our own history? Are there finally, here, the various means of counteracting the deepest punishment that society puts on any second-class group? Which means that, finally, it begins to make us ourselves, the members of it, believe that our group is second class.

[55] We doubt our own abilities. We say things like: “I’m only a woman.”

[56] We fail to have respect for each other. If we get a little bit up in the world, we don’t want to identify with our group because we believe it’s second class. We want to be the only Jew in the club, the only black family in the block, or the only woman in the office. It’s tragic. It’s tragic because it is self-hatred. And what are—what are we doing on this campus and in our own lives, each one of us, to remedy that? To make us whole people again?

[57] So, I mentioned the—some of the local issues that may be or may not be important here—you can tell us during the question period. Because I—I want so much to make clear that this is a revolution we live now, here, every day, that affects the way we treat each other, the way we think about ourselves, every act we make, everything we say. And maybe if we dare to live it, and it takes courage, if we dare to live it we might just—I mean, we’ve had 5,000 years of gynococracy and 5,000 years of racism and patriarchy. Maybe we have a chance now to make the next period at which we are—which we are on the threshold of now, a period of humanism. And maybe 50 or 100 years from now historians will look back or herstorians, perstorians [sic] will look back at this time and say that for the first time, the human animal stopped dividing itself up according to visible difference, according to race, or according to sex and started to look for the real and the human potential that’s inside all of us. Thank you.

[Applause and inaudible speaking]

DOROTHY PITMAN HUGHES:

[58] Well, Gloria’s talked very much for the audience that we have and I hope that—that you are ready to begin dealing with the myths that are within you, as I am personally dealing with the myths for—myths for myself.

[59] It’s very difficult to, for me always to come down when I get in this type of audience and it must be at least relieving for Gloria to be able to say: “Good evening sisters and friends,” or “Hello sisters and friends,” because it seems that when we go someplace together, she’s probably or mostly met with sexism and I’m immediately met with racism in everything that we do.

[60] And Gloria talking very positively and I’m—I’m beginning to hear it. And I guess it’s important to be positive when we are speaking. And that’s what I’m about to be. But I’m certain that that positiveness that Gloria has is not within everybody in this audience. If so, I think that a number of things would have been done differently here today in that racism would have been recognized as easily as classism and sexism is. In the advertisement of our coming, it becomes necessary to do different kinds of things when we live in a system that is so imbalanced and is so racist and so sexist and so classist. I think to—to say that a black woman is going to be – going to come – even if it’s because Gloria Steinem is coming, it may just be important to the kind of changes that could happen in this area. It’s very difficult for me to—to speak directly to sisters because white women have to understand. I mean, you, those of whom I can see, those of you who are out there must know that sisterhood is almost impossible or is impossible between us until you’ve understood how you also contribute to my oppression as a black woman. And then I—I think of the system, that I—I used to think that it was something way out there that like something that I would never get a hold of and I realize that the system is us. We are the system. Until we change, then we will always have sexism, racism, and classism.

[61] It is in us, that’s what Gloria’s talking about. That it’s absolutely necessary to recognize how much of it is within us and then not feel guilty about it, because we can’t change if we’re carrying around a whole pile of guilt. But it is necessary to change.

[62] And then it may seem that you sort of topple over another way or maybe lean in toward what could be patronizing but try it and see. You know, and if it’s being patronizing, the non-white person will tell you and then be willing to understand that.

[63] I’m talking to white people mostly because that’s who’s here. It’s not my fault that every time I go to one of these places that I can’t relate to black people because the organizing and the—the setting up of the forum is done by the people who are here, and it really does disturb me.

[64] I know that black people would not have come from the campus during the day. Well, maybe they would have if they had known. But there’s something wrong in that only a few black of the five, of the three percent I think. Is it 5 percent? Five percent that are black on the campus are in the school at night. So there may be something there that needs to be changed.

[65] I like to—to really talk about some of the kinds of problems, I believe from being on that campus this morning, that there are a lot of students on campus who are afraid to even talk, afraid to even commit themselves to think for self. And it’s going to be a hell of a long time before we can communicate if you’re not communicating about what’s closest to you.

[66] I understand that from some students that if they did come out and say what they wanted to say and what they felt like saying, that they would be graded so that they would fail in the school. And I can understand that. But I think if you, those changes have to begin. If it means that everybody speaks out in one meeting and every—the whole class goes, you know, that will bring a lot of attention to your situation of racism and sexism . . . in the school.

[67] I think that it’s important to begin and that’s why I spend a lot of my time in early childhood development and trying to develop a change in the educational system throughout. Because I believe that there is a need to change the educational system from early childhood through universities. I happen to—I can’t really believe that any of us are really educated. And yet, it’s a term that we use very loosely. Because to me, I simply believe that you can isolate people and teach them a skill. Anyone. But you cannot isolate people and have them become educated or benefit from a real education. And once you isolate the people, racially or sexually, then you begin to isolate them from the communities that they came from or that they’re around. Then you begin to isolate them from other—from countries. And how can you say that we’re against the wars of aggression or the wars that are going on now if we are so isolated from them?

[68] We begin that isolation very early from just the people that we’re with. The schools isolate us from our families. The educational system is one of a quote “white middle-class system,” “value system” that isolates most of us from the educational system. And so the interest in the kind of educational concepts that we are developing is to end sexism, racism, and classism. It doesn’t even have to begin. Also, you—we do not isolate children from their families.

[69] Usually, in most of these daycare centers, the parents are total board of directors. All parents. The educational curriculums come from the family. You notice with people who are in a community control concept of education that we don’t say “mothers” anymore when we talk about the person responsible for the child or children; we talk about parents.

[70] Very often it may be the man who is responsible for the child because maybe the parent—the other parent is no longer with that family for some reason. Also, in these daycare centers we have men and women in the classroom. We have economic and racial integration of children and economic and racial integration of families. We have our economic and racial integration of staff, male-female integration of staff. There’s a man in each classroom, even in the infant room. And we do have children from 2 months old to 12-year-olds who are coming in after school.

[71] I think that also it’s important to—for you to know that we have younger, like we have teenagers, and then we have senior citizens. We have across the age line, across the sex line, and across the racial line and economic line in the class—in the daycare center.

[72] I believe that that’s a much better educational forum to grow up in than anyone that I’ve ever known. And so even going to law school, you need to know—you cannot be isolated from that concept of education or communal concept of education, and go into a community and give assistance in the best that you can. And if we’re really trying to—to do those things that we know that we can do and use all of our abilities to do things, then we have—we cannot allow ourselves to be isolated any longer. We have to begin communicating.

[73] The daycare centers a very important place here. Some real problemsI find some real problems with actually what is going on here in the daycare in that parents are not getting back from the federal government their tax dollars for educational purposes for their children.

[74] And you may have fallen into the same pattern as happened in New York City for 20 years. That daycare was considered a custodial service rather than an educational service, and children were being programmed rather than helped to be developed. And so, by the time they got to the first grade, they knew that they had to hold up their hands to get their bowels changed. You have to be excused to go to a bathroom. I mean, someone programs your very inside.

[75] The educational system is practically the death of all of us unless we change it because it is keeping us in the market for cheap labor. Unless we change it and unless it’s controlled by us, unless we use our tax dollars for our education and our children’s education, who are we giving it to? Who is it that is supposed to be educated with the tax dollars that they are taking every year or from us, or every month or every week, for education?

[76] So in New York, as chairwoman of a committee for community-controlled childcare, we stress the fact that parents should not pay twice for education, any kind, whether it’s early child development or university. Private daycare centers have tended to continue racism and sexism and classism. Children in our daycare center feel very free to explore each other’s body, might look at each other. The girls have not had any hang-ups about building cars or blocks, nailing nails. The boys have not had any hang-ups about playing with dolls. The dolls that we have in the daycare center are not shaven down and smooth everywhere. I mean it’s—I mean it’s really sad to have a child, a little boy baby look at a doll that’s supposed to be a male doll or a female doll and see this flat front when neither one of them are, you know. And so, there are a lot of things wrong with how we begin child development, how we begin development for ourselves. And so I—I have a feeling that a lot of us, all of us really have to stop and figure out who we are and how we can, you know, change our conditioning. We are all conditioned.

[77] Women are conditioned to believe that they can only be nurses or to believe that their identity rests with a man. I mean, those are conditionings that we should not give off to our children. Yet, we have three-year-old children coming into the daycare centers as beginners with lots of problems about only being able to be a nurse if you’re a woman, if it’s a female.

[78] A number of problems, like real heavy problems. And we feel that—that you cannot isolate the educational system then from the parents or the community because most children where I come from anyway, learn much faster from each other. A four-year-old can teach a two-year-old much faster than I can because I’m so far away from them. I’m tall—you know, and the four-your old doesn’t have a degree so we have to think of education and the benefits from education not based on what has been quote “a qualification” for education, for teaching, or something.

[79] Everybody is a teacher, we believe. And it’s what they’re teaching, that is what’s important.

[80] We get negative teaching. Our teachers are learning from pushers every day. Our children are learning from landlords every day, the storekeepers. They’re learning how to exploit fast. They’re learning how to relate to oppression fast. Those who are—who are learning to be oppressors learn that fast and those who are oppressed learn how to survive. So if we use the—the system under which we live, the scope of the system and the small systems within it, as the scope of our education. Then children will be able to survive and children will, in fact, probably lead the world—all of us—out of this kind of trouble.

[81] One of the reasons I believe that children will probably lead us now is because we’ve had the need to organize and to have direct action in everything we do. And so our children necessarily has to know what’s going because we’re not isolating them from the community or what is education, so they go with us.

[82] The only reason that we women are now not being beaten over the head or locked up every time we go out to protest is because the police stations don’t know what to do with children. I mean, the police don’t know how to handle them. And so we take our babies, and if they say that they’re going to arrest us for doing something human, for ourselves, caring about ourselves, we just tie our babies with a belt to us and say that you have to take us all.

[83] Now, 300 babies in a police station is too much for them to deal with and—and so we win. And have to—we feel good about ourselves and we try not to go into anything that we can’t win.

[84] There are a lot of other things that have happened in organizing. When I’ve had to talk with the mayor, the deputy mayor or someone, or someone that I really didn’t know very well, and I wanted to know how they were, I mean it’s very easy to pick up the phone and call the Woman’s Action Alliance and say: “What woman do you know who knows this man?” And you can find out from a woman somewhere in the country what—how you can get to this person. You know, what are their vulnerable points? How can you weaken them when they control so much of your life?

[85] And I think a team of women have been able to—teams of women have been able to do many more things together than we have been able to do them apart. It’s just that it is hard for us to come together, really come together, until we begin to strip ourselves of the racism, the sexism, and classism that we have.

[86] Since we want to have time for questions, I’ll stop talking now. And I’d like, you know, very much to have questions on both daycare and you know, women, the women’s issue.

[87] And I’d just like to say that Gloria talking very—a long time is not always so, but this is the kind of audience that maybe you could stand to hear from a white person about racism and maybe it’s the first time. I don’t know. But sometimes it does a little bit more when a white person talks about it than when I talk about it as a black person because, one, I can’t change white racism. I found that out. And I hope that that’s what the women’s movement is pointing out; that white America is not free either. And that you can’t join into a civil rights movement anymore and say: “I worked for your freedom and your dignity,” because the freedom and dignity of both white women and those white men, who are conscience of the system is at stake, I mean, it’s never there. So we’re all working for ourselves and our own freedom, and we would be a much stronger body if we could communicate with each other. Thank you.

[88] STEINEM: We’ve talked long enough. It’s your turn. Yeah.

[90] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Two [Inaudible]. First one. [Inaudible]. Dorothy.

[91] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Okay. Dorothy. I have two kids that go to nursery school and there are two black boys in their class. Only two, and there’s like 90 kids in the nursery school. And one day Richard and Randy’s father came to pick them up and it really shocked me because he was white. And I thought I’m going to ask my kids and see what they think about it. And so I said, “Is that Richie and Randy’s father?” They said, “Yeah.” And I said, “Is there something different about him than other black fathers?” And they said, “No.” He couldn’t even see the color. It was really weird because I thought here I am, I was brought up in a middle-class neighborhood and my father taught me that I had to hate the niggers because they’re out to get you and they’re going to take your jobs and they’re just terrible. And suddenly I realize that by not venting all these frustrations into my kids, they don’t even know the difference.

[92] STEINEM: That—I should repeat that I think because there are—there are people in the other room who can’t hear the question so I’ll try to repeat—no, no. We have to take turns, right?

[93] PITMAN HUGHES: You’re repeating.

[94] STEINEM: Tell, me if I’m doing it right, right. There’s a comment directed to Dorothy that the child center to which your kids go or your child goes has only two black children out of 90; two boys, and that one day their father came to pick them up and the father was white and that you was quite shocked by that and asked your children if they noticed anything different about that and they said, “No.” I mean, is, you know, “Is he different from other black fathers?” “No.” And therefore, how different this is from the way you were brought up in a middle-class suburb with white fathers saying, “Hate the niggers. They’re going to come and take their jobs away from you and they’re after you and so on.”

[95] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Another thing that it brings me to is . . . [inaudible] and these women calling in and you were talking about abortions [Inaudible] like there’s an ad in MS and that your name’s right at the top and I was listening to some of these women calling you, and, you know, it was like you went out and shouted Jesus Christ or something. It was like they thought it was just so terrible what you had done.

[96] STEINEM: But I don’t remember that they—did I—were there really hostile phone calls for that?

[97] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: They weren’t hostile but they were like putting you down in a very mild way. But you kept your cool. But it was really terrible.

[98] STEINEM: Well, this is—this relates to—okay this one’s directed at me and it relates to—to an ad that’s in the first issue of our—of our new women’s magazine called MS and—or a feature—in which women of 52 sort of more or less, well-known or accomplished in their fields or whatever it is, women have come forward and said: “I have had an abortion,” and I support the, you know, abolition of all laws that reproductive—restrict our reproductive freedom. Therefore, that when I was on The Phil Donohue Show and said that, that my name was on that list. That that was very shocking to some women who called and were surprised that I kept my cool about it.

[99] Well, two or three years ago I wouldn’t have and I—perhaps we don’t talk about abortion now because we assume, you know, that’s been such an issue for the woman’s movement that, that we assume it. That the whole notion that—that all those ancient white men in the state legislature control our reproductive freedom is essentially an obscene, archaic notion. Yet, you know, we—we can live in a country where one out of four women, statistically speaking, by conservative estimate, has had an illegal abortion and feel that we are aberrant or criminal or alone or crazy or somehow immoral, that we should conceal it.

[100] Women have been made to face all kinds of unnecessary danger and expense, and especially black and brown women. Eighty-five percent of the women who die from butchered abortions are black and brown women. For—for poor women in general, there’s the additional problem of forced sterilization. That all these horrendous issues, you know, are so important that we simply have to speak out about them and we must, everyone, speak out about them. And as soon as we do speak out about them, we find ourselves surrounded by people who themselves have suffered from—from the same thing. It’s like magic. Telling the truth is really a kind of magic.

[101] PITMAN HUGHES: About this child. You know, it’s very possible that the child had not seen your child and not seen any difference if the only children in the school are black are the two children. Also, because one of the things that—that gets to me is that [sic] live in a conflict all the time. I mean, parents who enter their children or themselves into quote “racially-integrated things,” or groups and—and live in all-white ghettos or—or having to live with one of the, you know, a conflict everyday, which is very sad, you know, because now we realize ghetto is a state of mind but also that that state of mind is really very hard to get out of.

[102] You know I’m not sure whether you live in an integrated section or not, but if it was only two black children in the school and the two black children’s father was white then it’s, you know, maybe they had never seen—made the relationship of father by seeing black people in the street, right, or in the community where you live. So I would—I would always question how much I prepared a child or how much a school prepares a child for experiences.

[103] And, you know, in ear—being in early childhood development, everything that we do, we expect of a child, we’ve already prepared them for it, we gave them the experience of it. And I think that if your children knew fathers in relationships where they talk to black fathers of other children that they knew that they would have seen the difference because there’s no way for you not to see the difference between black and white.

[104] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I—I think they saw the color difference.

[105] PITMAN HUGHES: Yeah.

[106] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I—I’m sure they did. They’re not colorblind. But all I’m saying is that it’s no big deal to them. You know, they see it, so what?

[107] PITMAN HUGHES: Mm-hmm.

[108] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: You know, there’s Chinese kids in there too. They don’t think they’re any different. Richard and Randy have black faces, that’s all. What’s the difference? They have two arms, two legs, you know, they talk the same. What’s the difference? And that—that’s was such a shock to me because of the society [Inaudible].

[109] PITMAN HUGHES: I know that—I—I—I just—I want to stop it, but I just don’t want you to feel, really, that children should come up believing that there is no difference in people. There are difference in people and the values are different. We have to begin to respect the individual differences and respect the different values of people. And it’s nothing wrong with finding, if they do find, that there is a difference, don’t be upset about it. Just help them to develop that human thing.

[110] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Dorothy, I have two questions. What new movement is there afoot to perhaps counteract Nixon’s veto for the daycare bill. And another, or do you want to answer that one first?

[111] STEINEM: Let me repeat it.

[112] PITMAN HUGHES: Go ahead.

[113] STEINEM: Well, the—the first part of the question is what new movement is there afoot to counteract Nixon’s veto of the childcare bill.

[114] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Right.

[115] PITMAN HUGHES: Okay. What we’re doing is we’re organizing all over. I mean, hopefully they’re going to be more community, at least parent-community-controlled childcare centers all over the country that are dealing with the change of—in education. You know, like, and then people become organized to defeat, you know, to do things. There are 10.5 million people in daycare around the country, I think, or parents of children—parents with children who need daycare centers. If all those parents, you know, got together, it seems to me that 10,000 parents, plus the children, could veto any bill that Nixon wanted as well as he, as a majority, could veto—one person could veto a bill. And we have to—we are now dealing with the H.R.1 bill, which is very, very detrimental to child development or anything else, any kind of human services.

[116] It is the most fascist piece of stuff I’ve ever seen and they’re still trying to justify it. And we—I’d like to see women all over the country take that up as an issue and defeat that H.R.1 bill. Otherwise, nothing that we do can help daycare.

[117] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Has there been—is there any political aspirant at the moment who is sympathetic to your viewpoints?

[118] PITMAN HUGHES: Oh, plenty of them.

[119] STEINEM: Repeat the question.

[120] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: [Inaudible].

[121] PITMAN HUGHES: Oh.

[122] STEINEM: Is there any political aspirant at the moment for president?

[123] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: For president.

[124] STEINEM: Who is sympathetic to our viewpoint?

[125] PITMAN HUGHES: Yes. I’m—I’m certain that Shirley Chisholm is. On our—for the first time I got somebody to work for in the political arena.

[126] For the first time, I’m really actually registering to vote and 700 parents that are working with me are going to be out in the street for Shirley Chisholm. Even if we get 19 -year-olds, we’ll get every 19-year-old on the west side of Manhattan out for Shirley Chisholm. But she is certainly in sympathy with it and working on it and I’m on black women’s committee for Shirley where we are dealing with or make—getting the issues together with Shirley on childcare. And of course, everybody who is—who knows anything about that H.R.1 bill that has any humanity left, has to know that it’s really a terrible thing and it really is developing the first open concentration camp, you know, for all of us to walk into.

[127] STEINEM: McGovern and McCarthy also have positions against the H.R.1. And I should explain H.R.1 is Nixon’s Family Assistance Plan; FAP it’s called, and it’s—it would substantially reduce the payments to women and children, who are 85 percent of all the people on welfare anyway, you know, around the country. Not increase. It would force women out of the home and women should—I mean, taking care of—of—of kids is a dignified, important job. It’s a job, but women are only supposed to do it if they’re middle class. If they’re poor they’re supposed to be forced away from it and into what really amounts to an indentured labor force because it means that they would be forced to work for the welfare checks they are already receiving and that already inadequate and that government agencies would be able to call up and order down, you know, literally, an indentured labor force and they would have no way of—of protesting or organizing.

[128] It’s—it’s bad for workers in general. I mean, even the unions are against this one because they understand the—the danger of it and the ways that workers would be used against each other.

[129] It would be a great blow to childcare because it would be using, providing terribly inadequate custodial bad childcare as a way only of getting women—of forcing and punishing women by getting them into very lowly menial jobs and not paying them on top of that.

[130] At the moment, they’ve tried to attach the—an amendment to that bill which allows a tax deduction for childcare. It’s their wonderful way of trying to turn middle-class women against poor women, but it hasn’t worked I’m happy to say. And women are beginning to—to organize around the issue of welfare, understanding that it is a woman’s issue. It’s no accident that it’s almost totally women and children. That as long as women can’t earn money, can’t work, are responsible for the kids and so on, that—that sexism is integral to—to poverty in this country. So there is enough unity on that issue, I think but I hope that the people interested in childcare here on the campus will get involved with the childcare center that exists—expand it, make it work for the whole community, make sure the university pays for it and that – this would make a terrific childcare center, you know.

[131] And that people who are here from the city will get involved in the local committees devoted to childcare pressure, your—your political folks on this issue, and I’m sure the National Organization for Women and many groups here are active on that issue.

[132] PITMAN HUGHES: You really—you really have to find out about how all of it is related to childcare and school and bussing. The whole thing. Because it has in it a built-in voucher system where it’s willing to give vouchers through tax exemptions to—to middle-class people, you know, middle-income people and it’s really crazy. It’s totally to control. And even if you have a civil service job in New York, 8,000 people—2,000 people have been fired from civil services jobs in New York. There are no jobs available for them. Most of them are women that were fired. There are no jobs that they can go to. They were put on welfare because they have children and they go back to work in those same jobs for welfare checks, you see, and that I mean it’s—real fascism. I mean, I think that people have to begin to relate to it.

[133] And then Thursday of last week I was called to a meeting by city administrators, that I’m sure Hitler called the same kind of meeting. Because what they were saying to me, as a director of an agency that could take workers, “We would like for you to take 40 workers from this welfare roll and you know, we will give them the welfare check.” I’m supposed to take my sisters and brothers and enslave them and their children and then walk them into the gas chamber or gas ovens, you know, just as those Jews who were doctors and teachers and lawyers stayed there to do with Hitler, and I’m supposed to be pleased about that and say “okay, we’ll do that.” You know, and it’s that bad. Most of them were women and children that are still affected by this. And the H.R.1 bill has been implemented in pieces in part—in different states right now.

[134] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Yeah, I’d like to ask both of the speakers, Gloria and Dorothy, Dorothy, about the upcoming May 6th [inaudible] repeal on anti-abortion laws. Which in MS—Gloria’s magazine—has come out and endorsed that demand. It also [Inaudible] sterilization and it also calls for repeal on anti-contraception laws. These demonstrations are happening all around the country, including here in Cleveland on May 6th. I was wondering if both of you would lend your endorsement to these demonstrations so that we can help build them by showing support that the entire [inaudible] movement [inaudible].

[135] STEINEM: The—the—the question is about the—there are demonstrations on May 6th around the country on the issues of repeal of all abortion laws, no forced sterilization repeal of laws against contraception and would we lend our names to those demonstrations. I’m sure we would. I mean, we did it before. I’m sure we’ll do it again.

[136] PITMAN HUGHES: Yes.

[137] STEINEM: But the point is not that we lend our names to it. The point is more let everybody know about it. So how can they get in touch with you? Where do they go on May 6th? How can they support it if they want to?

[138] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Assemble at noon at the new federal building on May 6th. And we will be marching to the old federal building to demonstrate our opposition to the abortion laws applied at the state. But also about the women who—who’ve been forced to be sterilized and are now bringing suit against judges who forced to sterilized them. And we’ll be marching on May 6th. And the week before that we’ll be having a week of activities around women’s issues. We will probably be having a debate [inaudible] some other activities.

[139] STEINEM: Okay. So it’s May 6th at noon at the new federal building is the place for everybody to assemble and it’s a march to the old federal building. The week preceding that rally, there will be a series of events around women’s issues which will be announced, where? Where can people get—this is the organizer in us, right? We can’t stop. Where—is there—

[140] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: [Inaudible].

[141] STEINEM: What?

[142] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: There will be posters up all around campus.

[143] STEINEM: Okay. There will be posters up around campus. Yeah. There was a woman here who—yeah, right. Wait, I’m sorry, I had—I had—I had meant to point to this woman before and I—yeah, please.

[144] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Since spring and rape season are just around the corner, I was wondering what advice you might offer to a female who is conditioned from early childhood to be defenseless? In other words, you mustn’t fight back. Young ladies don’t do that. I—I have a seventh grade friend who took all she could from junior high school boy who—and I still say that half the problems with males in this country is, sexually, they’re still hung up on the junior high school level and they never outgrow it.

[145] PITMAN HUGHES: That is really good.

[146] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Anyway, the young girl took all that she could from him even to the point where he lifted her skirt and then he came up to her and said, “Hello, slut.” Which, of course, is perfectly acceptable to the junior high male. And she said, “What did you say?” And he said, “Hello, slut.” And she [Inaudible]. And she hauled off and [Inaudible] and she was expelled from school for three days. And her mother said, “Good for you, Marci.”

[147] STEINEM: That’s great. Okay. I’ll—I’ll repeat it. I’m—I’m sorry because I know that you all can hear here, but I guess we do have to do it for the other room, right. This woman is saying since—this beautiful woman here is saying that since spring and the rape season are right around the corner, what advice do we have for women who have been taught to be docile and behave in a lady-like fashion and not to fight back? And she cites the example of a seventh grade student who put up, you know, with a certain amount of aggressiveness and lifting up a skirt and so on from a high school student because she was afraid or whatever and then he said to her, then he called her a slut and when she punched him in return, she was suspended for three days but her mother said “good for you,” so the mother— at least we’re beginning to un—make our children understand that they will be loved if they don’t play their role, which is very fundamental and important to—to understand.

[148] I—yeah, it’s terribly important at every level that women fight back and that we—we not feel, you know, we’re made to feel that somehow it’s our fault—in each instance, the, you know, second-class group, who, whatever it is, is made to feel it’s our fault. And there—there was a case on the books in New York, for instance, where a 12-year-old—a 10-year-old child was raped by a family friend and it was . . . eventually he was not punished because the judge felt that because—because the little girl had on a sun suit it was incitement or enticing or something.

[149] You know, I mean the idea of—of the whole thing being women’s fault is something that we have to make very clear is not true. We have to fight back. We have to learn how to use our knees and our elbows. And you know, we aren’t that much weaker than men. Technically, we’re only—there’s a difference in strength only during the childbearing years. Kids and old people, males and females have the same amount of strength and there’s really very little difference during those years. We’re just trained very much not to use it, to walk around defenseless with our arms at our sides.

[150] Now another thing that—that people are doing, women are doing in New York, in case it would work here, are forming rape squads. What that means is that—that when a woman is raped and she goes to the police and the police say “Did you enjoy it, honey?” which is what happens. And, of course, by New York state law you have to have a witness. If somebody steals your purse you don’t have to have a witness, you can make a complaint. If somebody rapes you, you have to have a witness. Somebody has to have been standing there watching and be willing to come and be your witness. So they form rape squads and the woman who has been raped and often brutally beaten as well, comes—comes to the—to the rape squad, right, and says “Okay, here’s what happened to me.”

[151] They investigate to make sure that this is legit, right, that it’s really a true complaint. And then they locate the man, tell his wife, tell his employer, tell all his—the relatives that are available, put up posters in the neighborhood with his picture on it.

[152] You know, a big picture and says, you know, “Meet your local rapist,” and so on. And, you know—that—I just offer that as an example of organizing. And what we really must do, which means take our lives to our own hands.

[153] The—the woman who started to speak before, and I can’t see very well.

[154] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I have a problem because apparently, I wasn’t raised right. [Inaudible] a mother that I grew up and I went to law school and I became a lawyer. Then I got married and now I have two daughters. One’s four years old, and one’s one. And I feel not only a desire at this point, but a need to stay home with them and try to give them some of the perhaps the non-sexist upbringing that I had. And my husband and I do all we can. He takes the daughters down to the office and that kind of business, and she has all the trucks and that stuff. But she doesn’t just live with me, and I’m worried—I guess it just becomes diluted generation by generation until maybe 100 years now we won’t have as much of this problem, but I don’t want to wait that long. And at the same time, I can’t be in two places at once. The kind of daycare that’s available, especially for a pre-nursery school child, it’s really not satisfactory by my standards and I’d both of you to comment on what someone who is already in a dual role can do? Because I have the skills to go on and work but I have the responsibility.

[155] STEINEM: Okay, let me try to repeat that if I can do you justice. This is a woman who is a—a lawyer and who’s—who was raised by a non-sexist mother and so has managed to graduate from law school and so forth. Now she has two little girls and is, you know, they have trucks and they—the father takes care of them too and takes them to the office with him and they’re trying very hard, you know, not to raise them in a sexist fashion. But the childcare available is so bad that she feels that she wants to stay home with them, or has to stay home with them, in order to give them a decent upbringing. What can she do?

[156] PITMAN HUGHES: I—I was just trying to—I was thinking myself about asking you to just come and stay around us so we can study from you. I mean, if you were brought up, I mean how could you be brought up in a non-sexist situation when the whole of what we have is one?

[157] If you were brought up by your mother you had to be brought up in a non—in a sexist situation because unless your father spent the same time with you as your mother, I think it’s almost impossible. But I don’t think—I think that you need to—something happened because you need to try and get rid of the feeling that you should stay at home. I mean why not your husband?

[158] You are a lawyer. You have a profession. You want to do what you want to do. But if you really feel you have the choices and you want to stay at home, it should still be no problem because you can still do things with them and they can still grow up in the community with people if that’s what you have time to do.

[159] I—I have three daughters; one is 12, one is 7, and one is 1 year old. And I don’t feel any problem at all about being away from them when I’m away from them. They’re being in the childcare center because I’m still in there, and that I’m a board member of the childcare center—the values that are going on in there are not separate from mine. In my children, the values that are going on in other—that are being strengthened in other children, are their values and their parents’ values or whoever they got them from.

[160] I mean we really changed the curriculum. My daughters are very active in their individual lives—I mean what they are as individuals. My husband is into his thing, I mean that individual thing. And we do things communally together. We do things together a lot. And when I’m with the kids, I’m really with them, you know like I’m with them individually and I’m with them alone by themselves. One would go to the movie with Joanie or somebody in the community and I’d spend time with Patrice, just talking with Patrice, while Clarence has Angela.

[161] I think that you should try and lose the feeling that you really should adopt the responsibility totally, if your mother could do that and not bring you up in a sexist type of a relationship and feeling.

[162] STEINEM: But, yeah, and it isn’t—you know, children are community responsibility and I’m very glad that some women brought their children today. Of course, there should be childcare for—for anything like this, so that women can come. But—but I’m very glad that you came and brought children and that you didn’t feel—I mean, one of the children was making a little noise here and sometimes that happens, a woman gets up and walks out.

[163] You know, and we always say, you know, please don’t go because if we can put up with the beast—I mean the noise pollution and the air and so on and the automobiles, why can’t—why not children? Children belong to all of us and they’re all of our responsibilities.

[164] An—Another thing to this woman’s question is that cooperative childcare centers or community-controlled childcare centers have often sprung from a very small beginning, and Dorothy’s center sprang really from Dorothy, with a lot of guts, walking around and knocking on doors and saying look, we all have this need, let’s organize around it and get together. And the beginning of the childcare center was in someone’s apartment, even. So it’s—it’s possible to do that.

[165] If the childcare available to you is really unsatisfactory, to do that with just five or six or 12 other parents, and to start there and start demanding, you know, city and state funds and to build on that.

[166] PITMAN HUGHES: I really believe that if there’s an unsatisfactory childcare center, we have the responsibility to—for changing it for those children who are in it and not to leave it.

[167] I began working at developing a day care center because there wasn’t any. You know, it really came out of that kind of need. But I have just as much a need to make the childcare center in Cleveland one that’s developmental for the children that are in it as I do in New York. I mean, because I really believe that they should have that kind of a chance.

[168] STEINEM: And if you want a consultant, anybody who’s interested in childcare, if you want a consultant to come on the methods of non-sexist, you know, input, I mean, just such a simple thing as—as having male teachers as well as female teachers is revolutionary. I mean, somehow we just don’t think about it or the teaching materials or the kinds of books that exist and so on.

[169] The—the—this thing called the Woman’s Action Alliance at 200 Park Avenue, a free office I might add, and apology for the Park Avenue address—they’re in culture shock to find themselves on Park Avenue—can send to you a consultant with exactly that kind of information—bibliographies, suggestions of toys, practices, and so on.

[170] FEMALE UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I am extremely reluctant to do this, but I—it is my very unpleasant job to say our time has passed up.

[171] I have two announcements: One is that we will have a woman’s week at CSU May 1st through 5th. It’s still in the planning stages. And for any who would like to participate, if you would come tomorrow to University Hall, Room 2808B at 12:00 noon. The other is that although the formal part of this program is over, Gloria and Dorothy will be at Fat Glens for a rap session for the next 30 or 40 minutes so you’re all welcome to come there. Buy your own beer and talk on a more informal basis. Thank you very much Dorothy and Gloria for being here.