Book review: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Just finished reading My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem at 70-something. A beautiful testament to her life – from her difficult childhood with a loving but somewhat looney, itinerant father and her lost-soul mother, to her many, many years traveling around the world writing for major outlets and organizing people in pursuit of women’s equality and reproductive freedom.

Beautiful stories of people she met, some of whom she developed very close relationships with, from the amazing Native woman who brought self-reliance and independence back to so many Native tribes that had lost their way, to the cab drivers and poor people and famous people and powerful people – including the then-pope – whose lives intersected with hers in some way, she gives the facts and reflects on their meanings in simple, fluid prose.

Another woman who fights for women's equality

Another woman who fights for women’s equality

My favorite parts are the ones where she speaks gently of her longing for a home when she was little and speaks tenderly about so many of the people she’s met and/or worked with. She has a clear eye and an open heart, and her book lets you know her in a way you never could from reading many of the often-harsh news stories about her battle for feminism and her long struggles to help make Ms. Magazine a force for good.

The book is a reflection on how a single courageous soul can create profound change by listening to people.

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Single mothers the losers in pay race

So it’s Equal Pay Day in the U.S. Sad that we still have to have a holiday for this, but it’s a part of why we still also have to have a holiday called Single Working Women’s Week!

A New York Democrat on Congress’s Joint Economic Committee writes about the realities that women in the workplace face today. Perhaps one of the most telling statistics is the one that says women with children get paid an average of 2.5% less than women without children–and men with children get an average of 2.1% more than men without. While those percentages may seem small, the truth is every dollar counts when you’re a single mom, no matter how much you make.

It’s likely to take generations and perhaps a few small miracles to truly break down the unfair practices in pay. The “Paycheck Fairness Act” before Congress sounds like at least one more brick we can throw at the situation.

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