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Gloria Steinem at the Jaipur Literary Festival, by Kara Meyer

GR2

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem and Apne Aap President Ruchira Gupta were greeted with warm applause as they took the stage on the first afternoon of the 2014 Jaipur Literature Festival earlier this month. During their hour-long conversation, the two women discussed modern day patriarchy, the global issue of sex-trafficking and prostitution, the trauma of body invasion, and the power of sorority and friendship. Steinem also spoke of her new book, As If Women Matter: The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader, which was edited by Professor Gupta and addresses many of the topics touched upon at the literary festival.

The conversation began by problematizing the institution of pornography. Steinem states, “pornography is a function of injustice” in the way that it subjugates women while also perpetuating racist and classist ideology. In her book, Steinem juxtaposes pornography with eroticism, stating that the latter “contains the idea of love and mutuality, positive choice and the yearning for a particular person,” while the pornography implies “a form of sexual slavery.”

Steinem went on to discuss reproductive freedom, the importance of intersecting social movements, and the way in which her time spent in India as a young woman influenced her later in life. “India made me who I am today, I hope you’re satisfied,” she joked.

On a more serious note, Gupta and Steinem also addressed the policy debate of legalizing or criminalizing prostitution. Steinem offered a solution in what she calls “the third way” which would decriminalize the victims of prostitution, and penalize and educate the customers. She ended the discussion by reminding the audience that, “the means don’t justify the end, the means are the end” – a Gandhian principle of non-violence that is also encouraged by Apne Aap.

Gloria Steinem’s new book As If Women Matter: The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader is now available for purchase through Rupa Publications.

‘Prostitution is commercial rape; don’t term prostitutes as sex workers’

Daily Bhaskar

Kolkata: Close on the heels of Maharashtra State Women’s Commission member Asha Mirje’s controversial remark that Delhi-gang-rape victim Nirbhaya ‘invited’ rape, now Feminist icon Gloria Steinem on Wednesday described prostitution as “commercial rape” and said it was wrong to term prostitutes as sex workers. She has long been working for the welfare of women and advocated that women should not be held responsible for prostitution.

“Prostitution involves body invasion and so it is not like any other work. So how can you call it sex work? Prostitution is the only word you should use,” Steinem told reporters here. Continue Reading.

 

Notes on a Tour of the Indian Women’s Movement

New York Times

MS. GUPTA : Walking through the red-light areas of Sonagachi or lobbying in Albany for the New York State laws against human trafficking, Gloria and my life have interwoven into shared writing sessions,  rallies, meetings, dinners, books, conversations, late night phone calls across continents, brainstorming and sometimes movies. With her, I have experienced how movements move and how immense the feminist movement is.

I was excited about the new wave of feminism that hit the streets after the December 2012 gang rape in Delhi. I wanted Gloria to see how the movement was really moving in India, and to share Gloria’s courage and hope with my fellow protesters. Continue Reading.

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem launches her new book

Business Standard

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

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.

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. Continue Reading.

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem launches her new book

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, Jan 15 (PTI) Feminist icon Gloria Steinem today released a compilation of her insightful and thought-provoking writings here for the first time in India.

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. Continue Reading.

As If Women Matter: The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader Book Launch

Delhi Events

Time : 6:30 pm

Entry : Free (Seating on First-Come First-Served basis)
Note : Call 011-24619431 (IIC) to re-confirm any last minute change or cancellation of the event.

Place : C. D. Deshmukh Auditorium, Main Building, India International Centre (IIC), 40 Max Mueller Marg, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi-110003

Venue Info : Events | About | Map | Nearest Metro Stations – ‘Khan Market(Vilolet Line)’ & ‘Jor Bagh(Yellow Line)’
Area : Lodhi Road Area Events

Event Description : ‘As if Women Matter – The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader’ Talk by Ms Gloria Steinem, renowned feminist, writer and activist who will speak on her new book. Gloria Steinem is one of the most important feminist writers and organizers of the late twentieth century. Since the 1960s, Steinem has been a political activist and organizer who has urged equal opportunity for women and the breaking down of gender roles. As a writer she has produced influential essays about the need for social and cultural change.

About Apne Aap Women Worldwide is a registered charitable trust in India. A grassroots Indian organization, Apne Aap works towards the empowerment of girls and women to resist and end sex trafficking by organizing marginalized women and girls into small self-empowerment groups.

Collaboration : Apneaap Women Worldwide; and Indian Women’s Press Corps

As if Women Matter: The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader

Edited by Ruchira Gupta

Published by Roopa ( English)

Rajkamal ( Hindi)

Her early years in India taught her the Gandhian lesson that change, like a tree, must grow from the bottom up. Her decades of work with the feminist movement in her own and other countries taught her that violence and domination are normalized by the false division of human beings into subject and object, dominator and dominated, “masculine” and “feminine.”

Now, Gloria Steinem and activist Ruchira Gupta in India have chosen from her lifetime of writing those essays that reach across borders. She shares the feminist revelation that racism, caste and class cannot survive without controlling women’s bodies, and also many of the ways that feminist women and men are fighting that control. Due to female infanticide, child marriage, forced childbirth, domestic violence, sex trafficking, sexual assault in our streets, sexual assault in war zones, femicide and global pornography, this Space Ship Earth no longer has an equal number of female passengers. Consciousness has never been higher, or rebellion more widespread. This book is part of a much larger global rebellion. It includes a brand new essay by Steinem on sex trafficking: The Third Way-An End of Trafficking and Prostitution: A Beginning of Mutual Sexuality.

In its pages, you will find ideas, outrage, seriousness and laughter — and a friend

If you are in the area, consider attending the following events:

Monday, January 13, 2014: As if Women Matter: Hopes and Challenges in the Years Ahead: A Conversation between Gloria Steinem and Activists Teesta Setalvad, Vimal Thorat, Ayesha Kidwai and Jayati Ghosh, and Ruchira Gupta, followed by Q&A with students. Hosted by School of Social Sciences (SSS), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi at SSS Auditorium, 3:00- 6:30pm

Tuesday, January 14, 2014: As if Women Matter: The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader, Book Reading by Author. Hosted by Oxford Book Store at N – 81 Connaught Place, New Delhi, 6:00-8:00 pm

Wednesday, January 15, 2014: As if Women Matter – The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader, Book Release, followed by a talk with Ela Bhatt. Hosted by India International Centre, New Delhi at the Auditorium, India International Centre, 6:30-8:00 pm

Friday, January 17, 2014: The Essential Gloria Steinem: A Conversation Between Gloria Steinem and Ruchira Gupta. Hosted by Jaipur Literary Festival, Jaipur at the Diggi House, Jaipur, 12:30-2:00 pm

Thursday, January 23, 2014: Talk: As if Women Matter: New Challenges in the New World Order, moderated by Ruchira Gupta. Hosted by Patna Women’s College, Patna University,  Patna, 3:00 pm

Saturday, January 25, 2014: Inauguration of Kolkata Literary Meet by Gloria Steinem, followed by a conversation between Ruchira Gupta and Gloria Steinem at Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata. Hosted by Kolkata Literary Meet, 1:45-3:15 pm

Monday, January 27, 2014: Talk: New Freedom Struggle: Women’s Rights in India, A Conversation between Gloria Steinem, Ruchira Gupta, with the students of Presidency College and Jadavpur University, moderated by Nilanjana S. Roy. Hosted by Kolkata Literary Meet at Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, 1:45-3:00 pm 

Thursday, January 30, 2014: Women’s Rally at Araria Mahila College Ground, Bihar, 12:00-3:00 pm