Gloria Steinem on what Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation would mean

October 26, 2020, 12:34 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she will vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, menopause is a $600 billion opportunity, and we talk with Gloria Steinem. Go get your Monday.

– All about Gloria. Covering the 2017 Women’s March was an overwhelming experience. Standing in the press area near the Washington, D.C. stage, it was thrilling to hear the speakers calling for equality—and not just for women, but for people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, the list goes on. How, I wondered, had such essential ideas become so divisive? And what was the role of a journalist in covering the fight for equal rights?

As Gloria Steinem addressed the crowd, I thought about her own journey from journalist to activist and realized there was no one better positioned to answer these particular existential questions. I snuck through the press-VIP divide and approached Steinem to ask her what she thought journalists should be doing right now. She reminded me that “there’s nothing more important than facts today”—and, as you can see, four years have passed, and I’m still doing the job.

So it was especially meaningful for me to connect with Steinem again for a conversation in large part focused on that same perspective. The activist and author is one of several feminist leaders featured in a new PBS documentary, Not Done, chronicling the past half-decade of activism, Women’s Marches included. 

Steinem also lends the documentary historical context—and in our conversation last week she did the same for both the movements seen in the film and some of our current political questions, from Amy Coney Barrett’s seemingly imminent confirmation to the Supreme Court to the fast-approaching U.S. presidential election.

Steinem, you may not be surprised to hear, believes that Coney Barrett “does not represent the majority opinion of Americans and certainly not women.” She says that Americans must be prepared to “disobey the court” if it makes decisions that are not just.

And on the closely-watched issue of reproductive rights, Steinem believes that even if Coney Barrett helps the court to overturn Roe v. Wade, it won’t mean a full return to the lack of abortion access of the mid-20th century (Steinem has written about her own experience accessing abortion care during that time). “We have become accustomed to practicing medical norms. There were always doctors who would disobey the law,” she says. “I think now there are going to be many more.”

The activist also provides historical context in another important way. “I’ve never seen this much activism in my life,” the 86-year-old says onscreen in the PBS documentary.

Read and watch more of our conversation for Steinem’s perspective on the interconnectedness of activist movements past and present here.

Emma Hinchliffe


- All in on Biden. Hillary Clinton is certain that Joe Biden will win the Nov. 3 election. In this podcast appearance with Kara Swisher, Clinton reflects on the differences between her race against President Trump and this one four years later. New York Times

- Swing vote. GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski said, after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, that she didn't believe the Senate should take up a Supreme Court confirmation process so close to the election. Now Murkowski has announced that she intends to vote in favor of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the court. CNN

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- A major opportunity. A new report from Female Founders Fund finds that addressing the needs of women experiencing menopause is a $600 billion opportunity for businesses. Fortune has the exclusive on the report, which identifies telemedicine, creams and supplements for aging, and digital communities around the menopause experience as the biggest needs. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Rachel Rubin Franklin, a longtime Electronic Arts exec who left to become head of social VR for Facebook, returned to EA as SVP of the positive play group. 


- What white women will do. Julie Kohler, host of the podcast White Picket Fence, writes for Fortune about President Trump's coded—and not-so-coded—pleas to suburban housewives, or white women. Trump is right to be courting white women, who are likely to vote Republican, Kohler says. She wants to know: can white women avoid falling for the "political play straight out of 1968" about an imagined threat of urban violence in this election? Fortune

- Anti-abortion. The United States on Thursday signed the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a document that is, in essence, a rebuke of the UN Human Rights Council's designation of abortion access as a human right. The declaration's 30 co-signees are mostly conservative and authoritarian countries. Axios

- Protesters meet the queen. Thailand's Queen Suthida, driving in a royal motorcade, came into contact with protesters outside Bangkok's Government House. The encounter led to arrests of protesters and has been seen as both a turning point in recent protests and a justification for a crackdown. Reuters


Is there a future for women in the national pastime? Baseball player Malaika Underwood hopes so NBC Sports

The white issue: Has Anna Wintour's diversity push come too late? New York Times

Kristen Welker asked the candidates about The Talk. That moment proved the value of newsroom diversity Washington Post

The spectacular rise and fall of Carolyn Rafaelian, the former Alex and Ani bangle billionaire Forbes


"Well, this is Iceland."

-Iceland's Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir as she recovered quickly from an earthquake during an interview

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