“The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader: As if Women Matter”

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Feminist icon Gloria Steinem today released a compilation of her insightful and thought-provoking writings here for the first time in India.

Steinem is no stranger to India. She came here first in the late 50s and lived here for two years, traipsing around villages in Bihar as part of Vinoba Bhave’s Gandhian satyagraha and has kept coming back over the decades. No wonder she speaks with first-hand familiarity of places like Sonagachi (Kolkata’s well known red-light district) and the problem of women panchayat heads acting as a proxies for their male relatives.

The book “The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader: As if Women Matter”, contains an introduction by Ruchira Gupta, Founder President of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an anti-sex trafficking NGO.

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The book includes a brand new essay on sex trafficking- The Third Way-An End of Trafficking and Prostitution: A Beginning of Mutual Sexuality by Ms Steinem, who is a well known American writer, speaker and editor and is widely recognised as a major catalyst of the global women’s liberation movement.

The book has been edited by Ruchira Gupta-founder president, Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an organisation that works towards the empowerment of girls and women to resist and end sex trafficking. It organises marginalised women and girls into small self-empowerment groups.

Ms Gupta while praising the author said she saw her as a guru and inspiration for other women.

GloriaStein-pf“Gloria is an inspiration for not just women activists and feminists but every woman on the planet. For me she is my guru and working on her book was my way of thanking her for all she has taught me,” she said.

Speaking about her book, Ms Steinem, who was present, said female infanticide, child marriage, sex trafficking and many more atrocities on women have created serious problems in the society and consciousness has never been higher or rebellion more widespread and the book is part of a much larger global rebellion.

The book at present is available in digital format but would be soon available in English and Hindi languages, said the organizers.

The book release was followed by a literary reading.

Published by Rupa Publications in English and Rajkamal publications in Hindi, the book includes a brand new essay on sex trafficking “The Third Way-An End of Trafficking and Prostitution: A Beginning of Mutual Sexuality” by Gloria.

“Gloria is an inspiration for not just women activists and feminists but every woman on the planet. For me she is my guru and working on her book was my way of thanking her for all she has taught me,” Ruchira said.

The feminist activist also participated in a literary reading and talk with Ela Bhatt, founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association.

Gloria, who spent two early years in India, credits the country for helping her understand links between gender and race, caste and class, and between gender and violence.

The American writer and activist has spent decades of work with the feminist movement within US and other countries and has said it taught her that “violence and domination are normalised by the false division of human beings into subject and object, dominator and dominated, ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine.'”

In the book Gloria addresses vital questions on removing- discrimination, inequality and marginalisation of women in society – through a broad feminist understanding and analysis which stretches beyond borders and across cultures.

The feminist is set to travel to various places in the country and participate in the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival and the Kolkata Literary Meet as well as pay a visit to the women’s college in Patna.

She had previously interacted with students at the Jawaharlal University here.

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