Gloria Steinem and Ruchira Gupta Mesmerize the Jaipur Literary Festival audience, January 2014

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Gloria Steinem, whose powerful work has been inspiring feminists across the globe for 50 years, along with Ruchira Gupta, who founded the anti-trafficking organization Aapne Aap, led a session at the Jaipur Literary Festival on January 17and were welcomed by a warm and enthusiastic crowd. I enjoyed how the pomp of the session’s title “The Essential Gloria Steinem” was toned down by the very warm and approachable Steinem immediately clapping for the audience’s presence. Steinem began by saying that the women’s movement was not her, and instead “The women’s movement is wherever we are.” She went on to say the movement is too often put into a silo and instead our challenge is to help people see how ideas of equality are all around us and becoming ever more compelling. She was quick to mention that men’s roles have also been restricted which diminishes their humanity. I also appreciated her reminding the audience that she had walked with followers of Gandhi as a young woman, and that India had been a crucial part of her awakening to non-violent and yet uncompromising activism. Continue reading.