Gloria Steinem reflects on her lifetime crusade for women's rights

May 2, 2013

One of the leaders of the modern women's movement appeared in the Buffalo area Wednesday. Gloria Steinem was guest at Planned Parenthood of Western New York's 80th anniversary celebration.

The 79-year-old feminist activist is a writer, editor, co-founder of Ms. Magazine, and founder of the Women's Action Alliance. WBFO's Eileen Buckley sat down with Steinem at UB's Center for the Arts for a discussion on today's challenges for women's rights.

On the same day of Steinem's local appearance, the FDA approved the sale of the over-the-counter morning after abortion pill.  It can now be sold to those 15-years-old and older, putting the pill directly on drug store shelves. WBFO News asked Steinem if that is considered a victory for Planned Parenthood.

"It's a victory for simple democracy and control of your own body. I mean if you are old enough to get pregnant, you're old enough to get unpregnant, and I thought the judge's opinion was a model of really doing research on the way the pill worked. I would really like to say 'thank you' to that judge," said Steinem.

Gloria Steinem talks to WBFO
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Steinem said she believes one of the most difficult challenges women face today is domestic violence. 

"If you add up all the women who have been murdered by their husbands or boyfriends since 9/11, and then add up everybody who was killed in 9/11 and in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and more women have been killed by their husbands and boyfriends," said Steinem.

As for some of her biggest critics, Steinem said she is "very honored that Rush Limbaugh calls me a Feminazi."

"If he liked me, I'd think...where did I go wrong," said Steinem.

At 79, Steinem says she is still going strong with her work. WBFO News asked how she keeps her energy level up, stays in shape and if she has any advice for aging.

"I am not a great example. I don't exercise that much expect for running through airports. I love ice cream. I'm addicted to sugar," said Steinem. "If I have any advantage it is doing what I love."