UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
February 9, 2013
Guests: Marlo Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Melissa Harris-Perry, Sarita Gupta, Laura Flanders, Mona Eltahawy, Mallika Dutt, Rangina Hamidi
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris
Five people were killed overnight in a rocket attack on a former U.S.
base in Iraq. That now houses members of the Iranian opposition group
known as the M.E.K.
And over 600,000 people are without power in the northeast this
morning as nor`easter continues to pound New England. We want to get the
latest now in the storm from NBCs Ron Mott in Providence, Rhode Island --
RON MOTT, NBC NEWS PROVIDENCE, RI: Hey, Chris. Good morning to you.
You know, power is the big story of the day, unfortunately for, as you
mentioned, 600,000 or so people along the northern shore if you -- long
island sound took on brutal winds last night and that caused a lot of the
power outages here in Rhode Island.
About 185,000 customers of northern grid -- or national grid, I should
say, without power, so, about almost 40 percent of their customer base.
That`s a lot of folks, unfortunately. And it`s going to be a long time,
perhaps, before a lot of them get their power back on because of all this
snow out here. Now, this is stuff that`s been piled up by snow crews as
plows coming through, trying to keep parts of downtown open here.
Fortunately, there`s not a lot of traffic here. That`s a good thing,
but they`ve got to keep these roads open because these are arteries to
trauma centers. Hopefully, we won`t have much need for that today. But
obviously, they`re doing their best to try to get the snow out of the way
so power crews can get in there to assess the situation.
It`s going to be a long time cleaning up here. One thing we can talk
about is the fact that this snow, fortunately, will stop falling within --
hopefully, in the next hour or so, so those crews can start working in
earnest today to try to get the power restored. Massachusetts fared a
little bit better, we think, in terms of power, but there`s a lot of snow
on the ground here.
Travel is going to be a mess today. We`re about a block away from an
Amtrak station. They`re shut down. T.F. Green Airport and Providence also
shut down, Logan, New York City Airport shut down. Folks trying to get out
of the area, you may be here another day or two. So, keep your patience
and try to stay warm as best you can. Chris back up to you.
HAYES: Thanks so much NBC`s Ron Mott in Providence. Stay warm out
there. We`ll be checking back, of course, on the storm`s progress
throughout the program.
On Monday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on whether to reauthorize
the Violence Against Women Act. The vote comes after Republican House
failed to reauthorize VAWA during the 112th Congress due to its protections
for LGBT victims of domestic violence and American-Indian women.
The first time since the bill originally passed in 1994, it was not
reauthorized easily and with bipartisan support. The widespread and
deserved outrage at the bill not being reauthorized is an indication of how
accustomed we`ve become to bills like VAWA passing on controversially.
It`s easy to forget that only a generation ago, when "Ms. Magazine,"
the feminist publication, founded by Gloria Steinem and Letty Pogrebin
published a cover story on domestic violence in 1976. It was considered
It`s only been through constant education and organizing from the
women`s movement that society even came to see violence against women as a
problem that needed to be addressed by politicians and policymakers rather
than a private matter best left unmentioned.
And that is just one of many complete social transformations of how we
view the world and relate to each other at the feminist movement brought
about. A new documentary set to air on PBS later this month called
"Makers: Women Who Make America," chronicles the history of second way (ph)
feminism, including the women`s move in spite against the legal regime that
protected abusers and led to epidemic levels of violence against women.
In the documentary, Mark Wynn, former police officer, talks about how
the movement finally broke through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK WYNN, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: It wasn`t strong leadership and
politicians. It wasn`t police leaders or judges. It was the women`s
movement which forced lawmakers and police executives to stand up and say
enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining us now, it`s my great pleasure to introduce two
principles in the documentary, Gloria Steinem, feminist activist and co-
founder of "Ms. Magazine," the national women`s political caucus and of the
women`s media center, And Marlo Thomas, activist, actress, and contributor
to the "Huffington Post." Thank you so much for coming in.
HAYES: And braving the weather. I love the documentary. I watched
all three hours of it. It`s fantastic. There`s a lot of incredible bits
of lost history that I did not know about, even though I have read
chronicles in histories of the feminist movement. One of the things that
was really striking to me is someone who now makes his living covering the
day in and day out of politics.
Is it politics as we cover them on Capitol Hill can seem so
transactional and so kind of bureaucratic? And the women`s movement at
this moment was so kind of -- such a spiritual and psychological awakening
within the individual participants in it that it was something more than
politics. It was as actually like a genuine revolution of consciousness.
I`m just curious how you think about that now, like, when the moment
happened for you that your consciousness did kind of change -- Marlo.
MARLO THOMAS, FEMINIST ACTIVIST: Well, for me, I think it was the
mail that I got when i was doing "That Girl." I was doing -- the first
single girl on television, I thought I was doing great as the young actress
and the comedian, but the male -- and I knew what I was doing. I knew it
was the first single girl on television.
I knew that was groundbreaking. What I didn`t realize was really the
nature of what was happening to girls and women all over the country. And
when the mail started coming in, instead of just saying, oh, I love your
hairdo, which is what some of them do, I would receive a letter that said
I`m 16 years old and I`m pregnant. I can`t tell my father. Where can i
I`m 22 years old, and my husband beats me. I have two children and no
job. Where can I go? And I was completely floored to be receiving this
kind of mail. And I realized that they were identifying with a young woman
because I was the only one, and they thought maybe I could help them.
And as I tried to find places for them to go in 1966, I realized that
there wasn`t any place for them to go, not for legal information, not for
safety, not for a comfort, not for anything, and that really politicized
HAYES: That is fascinating. So, you had this sudden window into the
private lives of thousands of women across the country?
THOMAS: Yes, yes.
HAYES: And for you, Gloria, it`s interesting because you talk in inn
makers about kind of having a moment of real kind of consciousness and
awakening. And I guess I thought of you, you know, --
GLORIA STEINEM, CO-FOUNDER, MS. MAGAZINE: As always there?
HAYES: Right. Exactly. Well, you`re so iconic, right, that you
figure like you just -- obviously from the first -- as soon as you can walk
STEINEM: The amazing thing to me is how long it took me to figure
this out, because I was having all these experiences like being unable to
get an apartment because landlords thought you couldn`t pay, or if you
could, you must be a prostitute. You know, I had great difficulty getting
any kind of assignment that wasn`t, you know, a stereotypically feminine
journalist and I was a freelance writer.
And I come back from India and I`ve been working in politics. And
guys younger than I would get all these assignments. So -- but somehow, I
didn`t really take it seriously until a couple of things happened. One was
that welfare was a huge issue as it has continued to be.
And I was working with the national welfare rights organization, and
they did the first feminist analysis of social policy I`d ever seen because
they compared the welfare system to a gigantic husband that looked under
your bed to see if those are the shoes of another guy.
HAYES: Right, right.
STEINEM: And, you know, this is one of the many ways in which women
have gotten leadership actually, because disproportionately, women on
welfare were women of color. And then, also, I went to cover an early
hearing on abortion, because before -- right before Roe V. Wade, the New
York State legislature was trying to consider whether to liberalize the
laws. So, they invited 14 men, I think, and one nun to testify.
STEINEM: You can`t make this stuff up.
STEINEM: So a group of --
THOMAS: She was doing the real comedy.
STEINEM: So, a group of early feminists had a hearing and said, wait
a minute, let`s hear from women who`ve really had this experience. And in
a church basement in the village, they had a hearing. And as the girl
reporter for "New York Magazine," I went to cover it. And that was huge.
HAYES: And you went from being a reporter reporting on this to being
STEINEM: Yes. And what did that, really, was that the guys I was
working with who were really seriously nice guys, you know, at "New York
Magazine," took me aside after I wrote the piece about abortion hearing,
and essentially, was beginning to wonder if one in three women has this
experience, how come it`s illegal and dangerous. And they took me aside
and they said, oh, Gloria, don`t get involved with these crazy women.
HAYES: The craziness, the crazy women, one of the things fascinating
about the documentary is it attracts both the progress and then the
backlash. And in some ways, it`s kind of divided now. And I`m curious,
you know, when you watch the film, at some level, the progress is
Meaning, some of the stories that you hear about even just things like
the help wanted sections divided into, you know, women wanted and men
wanted that, to me, is someone born in 1979 just come of age sort of after
second which found (ph) this seems ridiculous, right, about how could it
ever been this way? So, in some ways, progress is undeniable. But in
other ways, there are -- there`s a high water mark reached in the 1970s
that it feels very different from our current politics.
The equal rights amendment coming three states away from being
ratified in the constitution. I found out in the documentary doing
research that there was a law passed to subsidize child care for people in
-- under the Nixon administration, got out of both Houses, and was vetoed
by Richard Nixon.
That also seems like just a distant -- some other lost planet. And
I`m curious how you view our progress, when you kind of look at it in
total, Marlo, like where are we?
THOMAS: Well, I think that -- I don`t believe that there`s a
backlash. I think that there`s a sort of taking for granted. You know?
You have women that are running companies who have, i think, 17, 21 women
are heads of Fortune 500 companies, 21 out of 500, but there used to be
zero. I remember when I was about 16, my father took me to Washington.
And he was very excited to take me to look at the Senate gallery. And
I was only 16. I certainly wasn`t what one would call a feminist. I don`t
think we even had the word yet. And I looked down and I said to my father,
daddy, there aren`t any women. Just because there weren`t any women, it
was just an observation. It was like a Brooks Brother`s ad.
Everybody on a suit and a white shirt and tie. You know, I couldn`t
get over it. Well, now, there are 20 women in the Senate. I mean, it`s
certainly not enough, but, you know, we are slowly making our way to where
we belong. Twenty percent is not 50 percent which is what we should be,
but I think the most important thing for us now is that we`ve become
THOMAS: That we get out of the middle and get out of the minority and
take our right full place as leaders in business.
HAYES: When you said those numbers, I want to ask if we got in a time
machine back to 1978 and asked you what those numbers would be. What the
1978 version of you would have answered. I want to hear about that right
after we take this break.
HAYES: So, I asked you before the break, if we went back to 1978 or
even 1970 and asked you, you know, what would the United States Senate be
in terms of its gender breakdown in the year 2013? What do you think you
would have answered?
STEINEM: I don`t know what I would have answered about the Senate,
but I would have thought we had a democracy.
STEINEM: So, I would have thought that now since we earned majority
support on every single issue, from the equal rights amendment to Roe V.
Wade to -- I would have thought, well, that`d be the law of the land.
Hello. You know what I mean? I didn`t understand that politically
speaking, there was such a backlash, and that the backlash would control
one whole entire political party.
I mean, most Republicans don`t agree with what the Republican platform
is, but a very, very right wing backlash group controls the primaries.
And, you know, they`re now paying the price for that.
HAYES: This is really a fascinating aspect that comes out in the
documentary is, we now think of these issues, particularly, around women`s
reproductive choice, women`s autonomy, female quality as being cleaved
along very tight partisan lines, right? I mean, the war on women rhetoric
was about the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, but if you go back
to 1970s, it`s not so neat, the partisan division.
Here`s Bella Abzug in 1973, and she`s talking about women seizing
power in both parties, right? She`s not framing it in partisan terms.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BELLA ABZUG, (D) NEW YORK: For women who are Democrats can make
certain that they rock and change that Democratic power structure so that
the women who are Republicans grow and build and organize so that they can
rock and change that Republican power structure so that the women who are
independent begin to build a more radical movement which were right for all
of us in our power structure.
DOUGLAS KIKER, NBC NEWS: These women are not kidding. They are
deadly serious. What they want, what they are demanding is a greater share
in the political power of this nation. And if their enthusiasm,
determination, (INAUDIBLE) anger on display here is any indication, they
are never going to be satisfied until they get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: An amazing footage there.
THOMAS: And they`re not kidding.
HAYES: And then, here`s something even more remarkable to me. This
is January 9th of 1975. This is Republican president, Gerald Ford,
endorsing the equal rights amendment and women`s liberation. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The equal rights
amendment which I wholeheartedly endorse has not yet been ratified by the
number of states necessary to make it a part of our constitution. Let
1975, International Women`s Year, be the year that E.R.A. is ratified.
When we discuss women`s problems, we are talking about people`s
problems. Women`s liberation is truly the liberation of all people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEINEM: Well, if the Republican Party supported the equal rights
amendment before the Democratic Party did, then we had real Republicans,
you know, who were pro-choice who didn`t think that the government should
be in the rooms of women but off the backs of corporations. You know, we
had real individual rights Republicans.
HAYES: What changed? I mean, how did --
STEINEM: The backlash.
HAYES: Yes. Talk about the backlash.
STEINEM: The backlash took over -- no. The backlash was not just
against the women`s movement. It was against, for instance, the civil
rights act of 1964 when you got somebody like Jesse Helms, who was a
Democrat, a racist Democrat, was so upset with the idea of racial
inclusion, that he left the Democratic Party and became a Republic.
And that has been happening. So, southern Democrats have -- 8,000
fundamentalist Baptist churches and so on have taken over the Republican
Party and profoundly changed it.
HAYES: But one of the things that`s really -- that comes from the
documentary that`s really interesting is that gender is a key element of
that backlash. I mean, I think -
HAYES: But fight around the equal rights amendment, particularly.
STEINEM: -- because you have to control -- we don`t talk about it,
but controlling reproduction is even more important than controlling
production. And you can`t control reproduction, unless, you control women.
So, you get the same groups being against contraception, against abortion,
which prevents abortion, you know, which makes no sense.
You get especially racist groups being against reproductive rights,
because they can see that the country is becoming a no longer majority-like
country and they`re in a panic about this. These -- it is not -- women are
not over -- women are part of everything and fundamental to everything.
And reproduction is fundamental to everything. So, it`s the center of the
HAYES: I want to talk about reproductive and Roe and the sort of
centrality of reproductive autonomy that emerges through the movement right
after we take a break.
HAYES: You talked about reproductive choice and the centrality of
that and how it`s sort of a threshold issue because it`s a precondition for
other forms of self-determination for women. And this is an amazing -- so
Roe V. Wade, you know, obviously, it`s argued in 1971. It`s decided
And this is an amazing thing in legal (ph) argument that actually my
wife who`s an attorney called my attention to with an e-mail last night.
Just to give you a sense of the era. This is the opening statements by the
Texas lawyer arguing to uphold the ban on abortion. His name is Jay Floyd,
and take a listen to him as he appears before the court. This is how he
opens his argument.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mrs. Weddington. Mr. Floyd?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the court. It`s
an old joke, but when a man argues against two beautiful ladies like this,
they`re going to have the last word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Like get a load of these dams, huh?
HAYES: In this argument for Roe V. Wade. How, Marlo, do you
understand the role that abortion and abortion politics played both in the
feminist movement and also in the backlash?
THOMAS: Well, I think the idea of the best way to control an entire
majority of the country is to tell them that they`re not in control of
their own bodies, you know? And so, that fight for -- their can`t be any
more personal decision for a man and a woman is to decide whether or not
they want to have a family and whether or not they want to have more of a
family or whatever. Even your sexuality.
The idea that today we`re actually hearing whether or not we have the
choice for contraception. I mean, whether or not men and women decide to
have sex in their own house, that should not be anybody else`s decision but
ours. So, it`s so fundamental. When we have sex, how many times we have
babies, all of that depends on how we face our lives.
HAYES: But what`s fascinating to me is, I was looking at the data.
Pew did polling on abortion. Roe at 40. And, there were two things that
that were interesting. One is a very -- pretty broad majority position
that Roe should not be overturned, you know, around 60, 60 percent. But no
zero difference in men and women on his position.
And one of the things that I think makers does really well and to be
lauded for is it shows the backlash, the women in the backlash movement.
Phyllis Schlafly is very prominent in it, the woman who organized against
ERA. Obviously, there`s a lot of women who put themselves in front of the
clinics, right, where pro-life activist. How do you understand your
sisters on the other side of this battle?
STEINEM: Well, I think that the right wing promises women safety and
protection and many, many good things that women crave in return for giving
up or autonomy and yourself self-authority. But to go back to a minute of
what you were saying about abortion or reproductive freedom as a
fundamental human right and that that affects everything about a women`s
life, it`s true.
It`s our longevity. It`s our health. It`s our ability to be
educated. That`s absolutely true. But, it is the fundamental of the
nation, too, to be able to control how many workers, how many soldiers, to
influence what class and what race they are. So, it is -- it is
fundamental. And totalitarian regimes around the world start there.
STEINEM: I mean, the first thing that the national socialists did
when Hitler got elected, and he did get elected --
STEINEM: -- on a low voter turnout --
STEINEM: -- was to padlock the family planning clinics and declare
abortion a crime against the state. So the totalitarian, authoritarian,
patriarchal impulse or necessity is to control reproduction. It`s
And if you look now at the -- there`s a wonderful new book out called
"Sex and World Peace" which takes, I don`t know, 100 modern countries and
determines that the single most important element in knowing whether a
country is violent or not, inside itself, and whether it will be willing to
use military violence against another country is not poverty or religion or
access to natural sources or even degree of democracy, it`s violence
against females, because that normalizes all other violence and the reason
for that is to control reproduction.
HAYES: Reproductive politics have just a tremendous centrality in our
politics in the last election and continue to, and I want to talk about
what 21st century feminism looks like. I`ll bring more guests, including
my friend and colleague, Melissa Harris-Perry, right after we take this
HAYES: Joining us now are Melissa Harris-Perry, host of the
eponymous. Thank you for putting at the prompter. I nailed it.
HAYES: The eponymous show that comes on right after this one on
MSNBC, Melissa Harris-Perry, and author of the book "Sister Citizen: Shame
Stereotypes and Black Women in America." She`s also founding director of
the Anna Julia Cooper Project on gender race and politics in the south at
Tulane University where she is professor. You get the whole bio, too.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, HOST, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY": Yes, I know.
It`s like --
HAYES: And also Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with
Justice, co-director of Caring Across Generations, an advocacy group for
the aging and caregivers. Great to have you guys here.
So, here`s something I found fascinating about the trajectory of
feminism as a political force and policy force, right, with the sort of set
of concrete policy demands is you have the E.R.A. You have this sort of
broad vision of equality enshrined in the constitution. You have a lot of
specific legislative agendas that are happening. You have reproductive
The backlash around reproductive choice grows so fierce. The era has
defeated and the backlash for reproductive choice is so fierce and so
defining in our politics and our partisan affiliation that it does feel
like it comes to dominate the priorities of what we think of as feminism in
terms of its institutional life in America. And I don`t say that that`s
bad thing. As you`ve made the case, that`s a threshold issue.
But it also seems like there`s so much time spent fighting rear guard
actions in the 21st century to secure Roe, basically, to fight and refight
Roe. Every time there`s a nomination, fight it in every state, keep the
last abortion clinic open in Mississippi, right? It`s this constant
unsettled battle that the priorities of institutional vision (ph) are still
focused on securing that.
That there`s less space leftover some vision of forward incursions
into the patriarchy, forward advances for equality in other spheres (ph).
And I`m wondering how you feel -- if that`s an analysis you agree with?
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I mean, yes and no. And that -- I think even
just a back of a bit of conversation you`ve been having around sort of what
constitutes feminism and then where this position of reproductive rights
fits in it, it gets complicated as soon as we start talking about women
beyond sort of the certain class and the certain race, right?
So, when I think about the issue of reproductive rights, for example
in Mississippi, at this moment, it is the fight over that one little now
pink building in Jackson, Mississippi that they`re using every single
policy that they possibly can to close so that it will be passionately (ph)
legal to get an abortion but impossible to actually access one.
So, yes, that`s part of the fight. But the other piece of
reproductive rights in Mississippi, for women of color and for poor women
and for women with disabilities was the ability to, in fact, have children.
HARRIS-PERRY: To not have the state forcibly and coercively sterilize
them, right? So -- and in fact, if there`s been any win in Mississippi, it
was when Mississippi defeated the personhood amendment because it got women
who were interested in IVF and reproductive rights on the other end
together with women who were interested in protecting the right to choose.
And so --I guess, yes and no, because we`ve already lost Roe. We are
now in a pre-Roe world where you can get abortions in some states and not
in others. That was already what was true before Roe. So, we have lost
that. And the real question is whether or not we can develop a more
expansive definition of what constitute a reproductive rights movement.
STEINEM: But it`s always been reproductive freedom as a phrase. I
mean, reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right like freedom of
speech, and there`s always meant the freedom to have children as well as
not to have children.
STEINEM: The focus, I think, on abortion, was partly because of the
more White women were having abortions -- you know, the anxiety of the
right wing is very high right now, because about 20 minutes, we`re not
going to be a majority White country anymore. Very upset, right?
STEINEM: But it`s always been the freedom to have as well as not to
have. And the actually informed consent to sterilization was an issue that
came up before abortion.
HAYES: Right. I mean, the flip side of the state`s interest in
controlling reproduction is -- it goes in both directions, depending on the
STEINEM: I mean, when Ruth Ginsburg was at the ACLU with the women`s
right project, she was fighting for informed sterilization and before
STEINEM: And Fannie Lou Hamer was the great prophet of this because
she was willing to come forward and say that she had been sterilized
against her will with enormous courage.
THOMAS: And it was one of the reasons, too, somehow look like women
disagree on this topic because there has been a misunderstanding that
reproductive freedom or choice meant that we were against women having
HAYES: Right, right.
THOMAS: You know, or we looked down on women who wanted to have
HAYES: Right, right.
THOMAS: And that`s been sort of a real touching point for all of us.
And I`m so glad that you brought that up that there`s reproductive freedom
entails all of that.
HAYES: But that`s an interesting point, and I`m curious if you think
this. It`s like when you say there`s a kind of belief that women disagree
on that sort, that they`ve been manipulated into disagreeing, but it also
seems to me that like women disagree over these issues. I mean, they have
different politics. They have different --
HAYES: It`s not just false consciousness, right?
SARITA GUPTA, JOBS WITH JUSTICE: And I would just say, you know, for
a lot of women, as the importance of the reproductive rights movement and
reproductive freedom is as important as economic freedom and equality,
right? I mean, this is like the other part of what I think is a vibrant
women`s movement right now.
We just see incredible momentum building around some core issues that
are related to families, right?
Whether it`s the ability for -- you know, to make sure that women no
longer get fired for taking time off to care for their families and their
loved ones, or, you know, if you even look at all female workforces today
like domestic workers who care -- these are the women who care for our
aging, our elders, our disabled, our children in this country who don`t
have basic protections like minimum wage and overtime.
These are important issues. And, of course, the discrimination of
wages. I just lift all of these up because I think for a lot of women
today, reproductive freedom is really important but so is freedom from
poverty, you know?
HAYES: Right. And I want to talk about -- I want to play the
president coming out in favor of domestic workers receiving those
protections and sort of talk about the role that women play in the 21st
century service economy --
HAYES: And how women`s work and their involvement of the workplace
and what that workplace now looks like might set an agenda for progress
from the future right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As the home care
business has changed over the years, the law hasn`t changed to keep up.
That means employers are allowed to pay these workers less than minimum
wage with no overtime. That`s right. You can wake up at 5:00 in the
morning, care for somebody every minutes of the day, take the late bus home
at night, and still make less than the minimum wage.
And this means the many home care workers are forced to rely on things
like food stamps just to make ends meet. That`s just wrong. In this
country, it`s inexcusable. I can tell you first hand that these men and
women, they work their tails off and they don`t complain. They deserve to
be treated fairly. They deserve to be paid fairly for a service that many
older Americans couldn`t live without.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sarita, one of the things that`s really interesting here
around domestic workers is the wage differential between those jobs that
are coded as male and those that are coded as female. And it`s actually
really -- a friend, Dina Goldstein (ph), who`s writing a book that`s going
to be, I think, amazing. That`s a history of public education.
And I learned from her the reason that in the beginning, teaching was
male. And then, basically, people like (INAUDIBLE) can be really expensive
at public education and someone says, well, if we get women to do that, we
can actually pay them a lot less. And that`s the beginning of that --
because there`s essentially a wage discount.
GUPTA: That`s right. And that`s exactly what we see in the care
workforce today. I mean, let`s be honest that care workers have been
largely invisible in our economy. We don`t talk about it. But, this is
the work that makes all other work possible. All other work possible.
These are the workers who are taking care of our children, our aging
relatives, our disabled members of our population here, and yet, it is
disgraceful that they provide care, right?
They provide care to our loved ones that they don`t make enough money
to care for themselves or their own families. And you know, what President
Obama said in that clip is right on. It`s unacceptable. It`s
HARRIS-PERRY: So, the one thing I would say is, on the one end, I
agree with you, they`re invisible in the reality of who they are, but
hypervisible in our imagination of who they are.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, the single most important early 20th century
version of Madison Avenue was mamie (ph), right? Mammie (ph) who comes in
and sells everything from pancakes to, you know, any household item, right?
And it was all about this idea that mamie (ph) didn`t need a labor
contract. She didn`t need fair pay or wages or time off because she was
attached through this family for which she worked through a kind of
naturalized process of emotional connection.
It`s all completely made up. All of it, of course, reduced our
understanding of what the real work of vulnerable women of color in these
households were, but we also have to recognize that women in the feminist
movement were complicit in that creation. In part, because as you point,
it is the work that makes all other work possible --
HARRIS-PERRY: -- particularly the work of middle class women into the
world. That becomes possible because someone is there to clean the house
and take care of the kids. And those are just other women who are more
GUPTA: That`s right. And just to say, this is -- you know, we`re in
the middle of a major demographic shift. So, more and more people are
going to need support from care workers. I mean, we`re a rapidly aging
nation. Every eight seconds, someone is turning 65 in our country. We`re
living longer lives. We need support and services. People want to, you
know, age in their homes and they need workers who are going to support
HAYES: And the -- I mean, the biggest social transformation in
America, I would say, in the last 30 years in many ways is women entering
GUPTA: That`s right.
HAYES: It reconfigures everything about --
STEINEM: The fundamental problem is that 30 percent of the productive
work in the country is done in the home.
GUPTA: That`s right.
STEINEM: And it`s done for nothing.
STEINEM: And it has no even attributed value. So, you have work in
the home that`s already completely counted as valueless regardless of who
does it, right? Then, you introduce people into this workforce that is
supposed to be valueless and remains, you know at the lowest --
HAYES: Undervalued because you`re competing against free, right?
STEINEM: There is a policy way that we can approach this by
attributing -- I mean, first of all, the workers themselves are organizing
GUPTA: That`s right.
STEINEM: -- have a lot of support and are changing legislation,
thanks to you. And we can attribute at replacement value the 30 percent of
the country`s work that is done in the household and taking care of
children, taking care of -- at replacement value. And make that tax
deductible if we pay taxes. And if we`re too poor to pay taxes, we can --
HAYES: Rebate it?
STEINEM: Yes. We can make it refundable and we`ve -- so, you`re
talking about future priorities. That would -- so far, we have simply
tried to get equal pay with what is counted as work because men could do
GUPTA: That`s right.
STEINEM: But the work that men don`t do is completely invisible. And
that`s why we need huge changes in social policy to value that work. The
country could not function without it.
HAYES: One of the interesting results of tenet (ph), which is, you
know, Welfare Reform Act that was signed by Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
There`s the old joke about like a village in which everyone is employed by
taking in each other`s laundry. You know, tenet (ph) had this effect, I
know, in the Bronx particularly in which people opened child care and
basically everyone took in the child of the -- because it`s like, well, I
have to work now.
But there`s no affordable day care. So, I have my child. So, I`ll go
to work caring for your kid and you go to work caring for my kid. And now,
we`re both employed in the economy, doing the work we were previously doing
on compensating, but if we just switch who`s watching who`s kid, now we
enter the --
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s a fundamental assumption about who`s a good
mother, right? So, a good mother is someone who is middle class and has a
husband, right? And therefore, you staying home with your child of your
middle class and have a husband is good for your child.
HARRIS-PERRY: But if you are poor and unmarried, then you staying
home with your child is somehow bad for your child. And in fact, what you
should do is go work at undercompensated labor prices while your child is
in child care.
STEINEM: Because if you have welfare, you`ll be resented.
STEINEM: Because, actually, welfare is paying you.
HAYES: But this gets -- I mean, when you talk about this as a
priority, and this gets -- I think this gets back to the backlash, right,
because I know there are people watching this saying that the notion of
putting then economic value on the care that a mother gives is perversely
HAYES: No, but specifically --
STEINEM: -- older people and for AIDS patients, and care giving is 30
percent of the productive work in this country, it is invisible virtually,
except what you`re organizing.
HAYES: But there`s a degree to which there`s a social norm and an
expectation of that care, A. And B, I mean, one of the things that`s
really interesting about watching makers and watching the movement unfold
in the documentary is that we think about our debates now being about
government first business, right, public sector versus private sector.
But there`s this other axis at conflict which is, what should the home
and women provision and what should the state provision, right? That`s
actually another point of conflict that`s different in this public-private
sector, and I want to talk about that, particularly --
STEINEM: But only because we believe there`s a public- private
STEINEM: Public is guys. Private is women. Political is guys.
Cultural is women.
HAYES: Right. Right,
HAYES: I want to talk about that. I also --
HAYES: I want to talk about day care also because this is near and
dear to my heart right now after we take a break.
HAYES: So, here`s what the numbers look like in terms of women
entering the workforce increasingly. And obviously, this has always been
different along class lines. Women at the bottom of the social hierarchy
had to work because they didn`t have (INAUDIBLE) home, but what we see is
across the board, women entering the workforce. So, 16 percent were co-
owners in 1967. That`s up to 22.5 percent who are now co-owners.
And in 1967, only 11.7 percent of women were primary earners in the
household. That number is now 41.4 percent. That`s a massive, massive
transformation. And yet, despite that massive transformation, go try to
find quality day care.
HAYES: I mean, seriously, go try to find holiday day care.
STEINEM: And we`ll take a personal note here.
HAYES: And not just quality but quality affordable day care, right?
If you can pay, you can get quality day care.
HAYES: But if you are making the median wage in this country, median
income around $44,000, day care is just this commodity that is just
impossible to acquire.
STEINEM: And we`re the only developed country in the world without
some national system of child care. The only one. And we keep holding
ourselves up as exceptionalism without understanding that the exceptional
part is not necessarily there.
HAYES: Can I ask this -- I`m being selfish again.
HAYES: We have an amazing caregiver, I should say, on national
television who we love and provides incredible care of our child. That
basically, when I saw in the film, Marian Wright Edelman coming this close
to getting actually a day care battle pass in this country and the thing
that that`s one of those things in the film that made me feel like while
we`ve made tons of progress, there`s a high water mark we haven`t gotten
Like, what would the politics have to be to put that issue, like a
national day care system on the agenda? That seems so far from where we
STEINEM: We`d have to have more rooms in the Senate.
HARRIS-PERRY: Maybe. But I think this is exactly where the angst
about the identity politics of a kind of a women`s movement. And the
feminist`s politics of a sort of, you know, organized question of feminist
politics to come to the floor, right? Because I think we are in a
position, where, if you just look at governors and senators.
But we`re in a position where we very well might likely get a woman
president in the next decade. And she`s highly likely to be a Republican
woman. And there`s going to be --
STEINEM: No, no --
HARRIS-PERRY: Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley, the women who are in the
positions where we actually elect people to the U.S. presidency --
STEINEM: The gender gap has elected the current president and other
presidents and the gender gap works against those women because men are
more likely to vote for them than women. So, I don`t -- you know, it could
happen, but I don`t think it`s too likely.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s only to suggest that we may find ourselves in a
position where we have to say, whether or not, in fact, having more
uteruses in Congress or one in the White House --
HARRIS-PERRY: -- in fact, makes a difference.
HARRIS-PERRY: Because I suspect in other words that the politics, for
example, of a Susana Martinez or of a Nikki Haley far outweigh their
position as women on, for example, the example of --
STEINEM: OK. I retract my uterus comment.
STEINEM: It isn`t about biological determine -- I mean, it`s never
been. I mean, it`s always been about consciousness. However, experience
does count for something. And you said in the "Makers" film, you were
talking about somehow, you know, you end up women who are working outside
the home just as much as their partners end up doing the house work anyway.
HAYES: There`s actually data on this. It`s pretty --
HAYES: There`s data on this, and it`s pretty stunning, actually.
HARRIS-PERRY: I did the dishes before I came here this morning.
GUPTA: I just want to add that --
HARRIS-PERRY: And you?
HAYES: Shots fired at James (ph).
HAYES: By the way, bigger latte.
GUPTA: But I just want to add that in addition to the political
changes that would be needed and necessary, there is a growing momentum,
grassroots momentum out there. Look, I love the sandwich generation,
right? I have a 2 1/2-year-old daughter and I have aging parents. And
there are so many of us in the sandwich generation. And it`s that --
HAYES: Explain what that term -- explain what that term means.
GUPTA: Well, it means that you`re literally thinking about the care
for your kids and you`re thinking about the care for your aging relatives.
And so, for me, this is a real issue. It`s not just for me. It`s for
millions of us of us out there. I think if we can tap into that to really
create the demand that we need to address child care and we need to address
other care in our country.
STEINEM: And i would just like to say a word about words. You know,
you said that women had gone into the workforce. They were already in the
HAYES: Right, right. The official workforce.
HARRIS-PERRY: Let me say this about the sandwich generation pierce
because part of this is that the sandwich generation is much tougher for
those who are in certain kinds of circumstances.
HARRIS-PERRY: If your parents were part of the greatest generation
and they came through and they had G.I. bill, human capital investment, and
they were able to buy an FHA low-interest home and that home increased in
value, and they have a pension, then as tough as it might be, right, just
the kind of managing of the day to day, then they`re not going to go into
They have a safety net. And if you live in a place where your public
schools are good and high quality, you could -- the problem for the
sandwich generation is when your parents weren`t part of that system that
allowed them to have that safety net and your kids were not allowed to have
that safety net.
HAYES: I want to talk about how you move from a movement to something
institutional, because I think the energy that`s captured in the film is
hard to maintain over time. We`ll talk about that right after this.
HAYES: Hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
The Northeast part of the country is covered in a blanket of snow this
morning. We`re looking at about a foot of snow here in New York, and
almost two feet of snow in Boston, where it`s still snowing this morning.
The nor`easter knocked out power to 400,000 people in Massachusetts.
For the latest let`s go to Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore
in Boston Copley Square.
JIM CANTORE, WEATHER CHANNEL METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Hey, Chris.
Almost 700,000 now total without power and the problem is, with this
situation, it`s not like everybody can get in there after the storm goes
away and start hitting the lines, because, look, we`ve got two feet of snow
to remove first, then you can get to the lines, because all the streets are
covered with the snowfall here.
Officially, this is kind of going to put us in history. Portland,
Maine, all-time snow, all-time record snow, 29-point-something inches.
Either way, I mean, it`s a huge snowstorm in Portland, Maine. Boston, 21.8
as of 7:00 a.m. That puts them sixth of all time. They`re probably going
to the top five through here. Concord, New Hampshire, top three all the
time. New York City, you mentioned a foot.
There are parts of Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and
Massachusetts that have gotten over 30 inches of snow. Maine as well. So
many are in the 30-inch club, upwards towards three feet.
Guys, my hat`s off to the city of Boston, all right? Hands down, this
thing was coming in two inches an hour last night. They have not stopped.
We are talking about sidewalks that are cleared. Roads are cleared through
The good news is, everybody`s heeding the advice and staying off the
Now, through, we`re seeing Connecticut, we`re seeing Rhode Island
basically close all roadways there because now they have to get back in
there and clean the mess up. The good choice was Governor Patrick here, he
closed them before the storm.
Back to you.
HAYES: Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore, thanks for that
report. We`ll have update on the storm later in the hour.
Right now, I`m here with Gloria Steinem, cofounder of "Ms." magazine,
Marlo Thomas, activist and writer, Melissa Harris-Perry, host of the show
that comes right after this one on MSNBC, it is called "MELISSA HARRIS-
PERRY," and Sarita Gupta of Jobs with Justice.
And we`re talking about feminism. We`re talking about the amazing
documentary that will be airing on PBS later this morning called "Makers"
that you were both involved in creating, and also thinking about the 21
century feminist agenda, and I was prattling on about day care.
But one of the things, I think, to come back to the documentary is,
there`s a dynamic that struck me in the documentary that is across a lot of
different movements. Everything from Occupy to the labor movement, which
is that there`s certain kind of transcendent, sublime energy and dynamism
to a movement in its initial phase, right? There`s these shots of, you
know, taking the streets in a big march and these big, you know,
confrontation hearings and things like that.
And then if a movement is successful, it has to sort of
institutionalize itself, right? You have to get boards of directors and
you get lawyers and you file and you -- I`m curious, Marlo, how you as a
sort of life-language activist think about maintaining that energy,
maintaining that sense of intense dynamic consciousness over a period of
MARLO THOMAS, FEMINIST ACTIVIST: Well, a lot of it is through
THOMAS: I mean, one of the wonderful things about this country, the
heart of the land does follow the law of the land. We don`t even make
jokes about minorities and women anymore because we passed laws that have
made us feel differently about things. So, I think -- when I saw Ruth
Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O`Connor talking about on the "Makers"
special about the laws. To me, that`s an exciting part for making it
HAYES: That`s really an interesting point because it`s the opposite
of how I think of it, which I think of like cultural transformation
preceding regular transformation that we changed the way we think about
things and then we get the laws of the final step in that process.
And what you`re saying actually is legislating on these things.
THOMAS: And we have to feel it first, obviously.
THOMAS: It has to come from the street. We have to understand it.
GLORIA STEINEM, COFOUNDER, "MS." MAGAZINE: Yes, if the legislation
comes from the top down, it will remain on paper.
STEINEM: It will look nice, but nobody will use it. It has to come
from the bottom up. And that`s what`s strong about movements for social
justice. That people have forced the change in the law and, therefore, we
use the law.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: I think we also want to be really
careful, because, you know, I feel it, too. You know, you -- particularly
sort of the way that we represent in film, on love --
HAYES: Romanticizing, glamorous, right.
HARRIS-PERRY: There`s the kind of romanticizing of it. It`s part of
the work I always feel that I`m doing, for example, during Black History
Month, where you want to celebrate the movement, particularly the men of
the movement. But you also want to give political insight and to recognize
that every point, even in the heyday of the enthusiasm, that there are
political choices being made.
I mean, the great thing about the world-changing revolution that gets
institutionalized in a way that`s inadequate to its own documents is the
United States right?
HARRIS-PERRY: You get the Declaration of Independence, the result of
human inequality, and then you get the Constitution. But not so much
enshrine right, you know, self evident human quality.
And so, I think there`s always -- there`s always both of those things.
And I also think we have to be very careful when we`re talking about next
generation questions. Part of what happens is if we can frame this as
authentic part of the movement and then we are kind of pushing young women,
for example --
HAYES: Right, right.
HARRIS-PERRY: -- who are developing their own way of thinking about
what feminism, as though it is inauthentic.
HAYES: Right, right. And there are -- yes?
STEINEM: And young women are actually more feminist than older women
if you look at the public opinion polls. I really resent that we have this
idea -- actually, it`s part of the plot against all social justice
movement, which is to say they are over.
STEINEM: So, they keep saying that the young people are not. You
know, we`re post-racist, post-feminist. I mean, that`s just ridiculous.
STEINEM: And young women are mad as hell about no sex education,
contraception, graduating in huge debt, which is terrible for everybody,
men and women, to be indentured at that point in life. I mean, I think
that`s one of the great sins of this country.
STEINEM: But it`s even worse for women, because they`re going to earn
$2 million less over the course of their lifetime to pay the debt back.
And within that is all the differences of race and ethnicity besides that.
So, believe me, they are mad.
HARRIS-PERRY: If you read "Jezebel" or "Crunk Feminist" or any of
this, right, I just think the movement might be happening in a different
space. So, you see that discourse.
SARITA GUPTA, JOBS WITH JUSTICE: It`s evolving which is what it`s
meant to do. People talk that the labor movement is dead. I would argue
that is not true. There`s an incredible labor movement out there being won
largely by woman.
GUPTA: Lots of women of color because that`s who the workforce is.
GUPTA: And it`s exactly that. It`s evolving. And we have to learn
how to understand the relationship of movement to institution -- from
movement to institution. And when we talk about legislation, it is true
that we need to pass legislation. We need the uprising to create the
momentum to pass legislation, and then legislation can also change culture.
GUPTA: I mean, look at Family Medical Leave Act. It`s a great
HAYES: Just had the 20th anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act.
The Family Medical Leave Act is a great example, right, because it`s a
landmark piece of legislation that doesn`t do that much. But what it does
do is it gives you 12 weeks of paid leave and the right to take -- now, how
many Americans right now can take three months without --
GUPTA: That`s right.
HAYES: Every other country -- every single one --
STEINEM: And you had to fight tooth and nail for that.
GUPTA: But here we have an opportunity to actually build upon that.
And actually brought in what the Family Medical Leave Act is.
HAYES: And one of the things, returning this conversation about how
we define women`s work and how it`s gendered and the 21st century works,
right, is that flexibility is increasing a premium. And a lot of the labor
battles happen around scheduling, increasingly, because there`s so much
juggling, right, so much scheduling juggling --
STEINEM: Because we have the least family-friendly policies. Not
only do we not have child care, unlike every developed country, but we also
work longer hours. Don`t have flexible hours.
I mean, you know, we have to start to learn from our countries.
GUPTA: We don`t even have sick days.
HARRIS-PERRY: I would just say, yes and -- yes and let`s not forget
for the majority of African-American children in this country, it is not
about flexibility, it`s about poverty.
HARRIS-PERRY: So you`re talking about not parents trying to juggle
which I get, right? And that is a real and actual policy issue. And at
the same time, I think we have to keep our eyes on the reality that
feminine poverty means childhood poverty. And childhood poverty is this
country is --
HAYES: But those two -- but I would also say this -- low-level work
is the least likely to be inflexible, right? Those two things go together.
You don`t get to say anything about it. So if you do have a sick mother or
sick father you have to care for them, you have to go care for them, the
least likely person to have any power over their schedule are those people
making those sum of money.
STEINEM: And the differential in wage between women with children and
women without children is now often greater than the male-female.
HAYES: That`s fascinating.
GUPTA: That`s right.
STEINEM: Because, you know, all the statistics show that if a woman
has children, she`s viewed by the employer on the average as less
STEINEM: And if a man has children, he`s viewed as more employable.
HAYES: Gloria Steinem, co-founder of "Ms." magazine, and Marlo
Thomas, activist and writer, it`s so wonderful to have you here. Thank you
so much. I would love to have you back at some point in the future.
Melissa Harris-Perry, host of "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY", which will be on
right after this. You`re going to get two more hours of her.
Sarita Gupta of Jobs with Justice -- thank you, guys, for being here.
I really appreciate it.
GUPTA: Nice to be here.
HAYES: Women around the world are fighting sexual violence. That`s
HAYES: This week in Pakistan, for the first time since shot by the
Taliban for speaking out in favor of women`s education, we heard from the
uncowed 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALALA YOUSAFZAI, ACTIVIST: Today, you can see I`m alive. I can
speak. I can see you. I can see everyone. And today, I can speak. And
I`m getting better day by day.
It`s just because of the prayers of the people, because all the
people, men and women, children, all of them, all of them have prayed for
me. And because of these prayers, and because of these prayers, God -- God
has given me this new life.
This is a second life. This is a new life. And I want to serve. I
want to serve the people. And I want every girl, every child to be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In Cairo, on Wednesday, thousands of Egyptian men and women
took to the streets to protest rampant female harassments of female
protesters in Tahrir Square. The latest in the series of marches drawing
attention to the rising number of sexual assaults in Tahrir after what
seemed to be a brief respite during the early days of revolution.
And in India this week, protests against sexual violence continued
despite the government to enact new laws on rape and assault. On
Wednesday, women`s groups demanded an investigation into an Indian
politician accused of raping a teenager in 1996, currently serving with the
congress party. India`s pervasive culture of sexual violence was further
documented in a disturbing report released this week by Human Rights Watch
titled "Breaking the Silence", that called child sex abuse in India
disturbingly common and one largely unreported and unprosecuted.
With the protest this week and over the past several months are not
new. They`re simply a window into the grassroots of women`s movements that
fight every day around the world against cultures of misogyny, patriarchy
and sexual violence that extend across barriers of religion, culture and
levels of development.
Joining me now are: Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian columnist and activist;
Laura Flanders, contributing writer at "The Nation" magazine and the
founder of Grittv.org, Mallika Dutt, founder, president and CEO of
Breakthrough, a human rights organization that works to promote women`s
rights in India and elsewhere; and Rangina Hamidi, outreach coordinator for
Women`s Regional Network for Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
It`s really wonderful to have you out here at the table.
I guess my first question is, is this an example, when we sort of link
these together -- these different places in which there seems to be
grassroots women`s mobilization, particularly against sexual violence and
against violence and intimidation. Is this just an example in the cliche
of journalism -- three makes a trend -- that we`re looking for this there
and they were there? Or does this seem to be in the same way the Arab
spring did follow a sort of pattern of contagion in the consciousness?
Does there seem to be something happening in the world right now of a kind
of contagion of consciousness in the women`s grassroots movement?
MALLIKA DUTT, BREAKTHROUGH: I think it`s a contagion. I think it`s
the moment when we`re getting when there`s going to be a tipping point. I
really think what the women`s movement has been doing globally for the last
couple decades now. It`s kind of coming to a moment where we`re gathering
In March, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women is focusing on
preventing violence against women. And we`re going to see thousands of
women`s groups from around the world gather right here in New York City to
really bring attention to what I think is going to be the issue in of the
HAYES: And that is what specifically?
DUTT: And that is that we all have to focus on ending the violence
MONA ELTAHAWY, EGYPTIAN ACTIVIST: I think also the revolutions that
we`ve been seeing happening have been happening on a seemingly just
political, quote/unquote, "stage". And people forget that men and women
side by side have made his or have begun these revolutions and they`re by
no means over. And unless we begin to acknowledge that they need a social
and sexual aspect to them.
Because for the longest time, when we had revolutions, women are
always -- we were talking about this earlier, we were always told, wait,
this isn`t the time. We need to fix the environment, we need to fix the
water, we need to fix the education, and then we`ll get to you.
And we`re saying, no, no, you`re going to get to us now, but unless
you get to us now, nothing is going to work. So, you see it happening in
India, in Afghanistan, in Egypt, in the U.S., everywhere, there`s a
recognition that unless these revolutions include a very strong gender
aspect, the political aspects of these revolutions will fail. Without
women, these revolutions are nothing.
LAURA FLANDERS, THENATION.COM: But I do think -- I mean, let`s say
inspiration instead of contagion, shall we? There is something about this
But there`s also something to what you said, that these grassroots
organizations have existed forever. I mean, the first feminist magazine in
India was founded in the 1970s, "Minoshi" (ph). Women got to vote in the
Philippines before we got it here.
The U.S. media has been remarkably bad always in covering feminism at
all. And when it comes to grassroots feminism around the world, we`ve not
seen much of it.
And one of the things that`s changed, courtesy of our Internet, but
also some organizations that I think are playing a key role is the global
sense of movement. I did a story last year for "The Nation" about Eve
Ensler, who is spearheading this extraordinary One Billion Rising movement.
And her point is not that Eve Ensler and the Vagina Monologue and V Day is
creating new movement, but rather they are surfacing making visible the
grassroots actions that`s happening all the time.
HAYES: Rangina, yes?
RANGINA HAMIDI, WOMEN`S REGIONAL NETWORK: Actually, I agree with you,
and I want to add that in a place like Afghanistan or Pakistan that is
solely getting attention not only from a global development perspective but
also from the politics and social realities of what`s happening on the
ground, women have been active, but silently up until now. And there is so
much international attention. And women are organizing and networking with
each other in ways that were not able to do so say 20 or 30 years ago.
So I think you`re absolutely right that it`s been -- the tea has been
brewing, but it`s finally coming to the cups.
HAYES: How is it -- I mean, Afghanistan is a very different situation
than India or Egypt. I mean, obviously, all countries are different, but
specifically being under -- you know, with foreign troops, with the threat
of violence and the return are of the Taliban, the Taliban controlling some
areas of the country.
How -- what is civil society and feminist society look like under
HAMIDI: Well, things have changed from 2001, when America and
international allies first went to Afghanistan. In the past 12 years, a
lot has changed in terms of women being a lot more educated and exposed to
what is actually happening to the women`s movement outside of Afghanistan.
But more specifically, if you pay attention to the regional aspect of it,
women have looked up -- Afghan women have looked up to women in India and
Pakistan, closer to the region not reaching out so far to America or
And they`re seeing that women have been very active in changing their
society. So, Afghan women have learned and even though this whole notion
of talks with the Taliban or this peace process that we honestly, as women,
we honestly don`t know what the peace talks really mean or about or what
they will bring because we`re not part of the process.
And this has been our fight right now to include our voice and our
autonomy in these peace processes because once the peace talks are made and
if we`re not at the table at the time when the peace deal is being made,
then there`s no point in trying to fight it later on, especially knowing
that the international community`s focus is still on our side.
HAYES: I want -- I want to ask you if it`s possible to make peace
with the Taliban, from your perspective, given what it meant before --
right after we take a quick break. I want you to answer that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: This is a big event of the U.S./Afghan
women`s conference, isn`t it, sir?
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It is, it`s big because it
will have are impact over the years. In other words, the idea of
liberating women, empowering women, encouraging women, educating women in
Afghanistan is all part of laying foundations for lasting peace. And my
concern, of course, is that the United States gets weary of being in
Afghanistan, it`s not worth it, let`s leave. And, Laura and I believe that
if that were to happen, women would suffer again. And we don`t believe
that`s in the interest of the United States or the world to create safe
haven for terrorists and stand by and watch women`s rights be abused.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s a noted patriot George W. Bush for the U.S. to stay in
And I wanted to play that clip for you because from the American
perspective discussion of women`s rights in Afghanistan had been bound up
with justification for American intervention, military occupation and
And so, from your perspective, how do you hear that? Is he right, do
you agree with George W. Bush?
HAMIDI: To be honest, I wish he was right. There are so many
elements or layers to the problem that you just cannot -- I think it`s
naive of President Bush to have looked at the situation in Afghanistan to
say, well, if we leave the women would suffer. Unfortunately, the women
have suffered with the presence of America and the women will continue to
You know, I want to come back to the issue of Taliban and peace talks
because that`s still an issue that`s heavily supported and tracked by U.S.
involvement. So when we talk about peace negotiations with the Taliban,
the question for not only women but the common citizen in Afghanistan is
what do these peace talks really entail and what would it mean for women
after these peace talks and negotiations are made.
The general stand is, that as long as there`s militarization of aid
and development in the country, but also within the region, as well as
corruption and the still activity of the warlordism, meaning people in
corrupt officials in powerful positions, there is not going to be peace,
whether it`s the Taliban or the current regime in power.
FLANDERS: This was of the history. I mean, the U.S.-backed
government of Hamid Karzai did, three years ago, implement some legal
changes. They were supposed to make life better for women, stop violence
against women, female parity in certain parts of government. Two years
ago, that same government under pressure from warlords who have been
endlessly empowered by the huge influx of weaponry into the country, forced
Karzai basically to roll host of that back.
And now, it`s legal to force your wife to have sex with you. It`s
legal to hire a man over a woman -- in fact, illegal to do that opposite.
And a lot of feminists say we`re now less well off than were locally
because of this militarization. And proliferation of weapons in
Afghanistan is not good for women`s right, Mr. Feminist President Bush.
FLANDERS: And poverty remains. I mean, you`ve got one in 11 women
dying in child birth, one in five kids not making it through their first
year. I just spoke to Kathy Kelly for Grit TV, what she described of the
economic violence, of life of women in Afghanistan is almost something
that`s invisible here.
HAMIDI: I just wanted to comment, you said the warlords forced
Karzai, I don`t think he was forced -- never forced anybody in that
It just shows the mentality that exists in the male-dominated
ELTAHAWY: I think if I can add something very quickly. I think,
generally, what has been happening, as we see happening globally, is women
are the bargaining chips. We`re the cheapest bargaining chips.
Whenever someone wants to sit down and say, OK, I`m going to strike a
deal with you. And they say, I`m going to put women`s rights on the table
for you. And they say, great, you must have sex with your husband when you
want. We will roll back X, Y and Z rights. And no one speaks to us.
What you said before the break really struck home. We`re not around
the table and our rights are negotiated over our heads. And then we`re
told afterwards what we have to live with, which is why women are now
saying we`re not leaving the streets.
HAYES: Mallika, I want to -- you`re just back from India, the
horrifying, brutal gang rape and murder that happened in Delhi of a student
there, it got a lot of press in the U.S. media. And I was actually a
little reticent to cover it when it happened for the reason that sometimes
I think American coverage of that can have a kind of air of superiority,
which is like this kind of, look how horrible things are there, and
obviously, there`s tremendous amount of sexual violence here in the US.
But at the same time, the details of it, it struck me it had the
effect on the Indian public that Newtown had on the American public, which
is people die from gun violence every day. But this particular thing
happened and it was so evil and gruesome and horrific in details that it
broke something inside the nation`s consciousness that just changed the
Is that -- is that your sense of what`s happening there?
DUTT: I do think that`s true. One of the things I want to say, I
appreciate the fact you started this process with the U.S. women`s movement
and then you`re going global. So that we`re not having this conversation
that everything is all well in other parts of the world and we`re fine and
dandy here in the United States. I just -- I really kind of appreciate how
this global feminist power is happening on UP WITH CHRIS HAYES. Yes,
You know, I think what happened in India was a long time coming. And
why this particular incident sparked the kind of outrage that it did is one
of those questions that we keep asking ourselves.
I`ve gotten to a place where at this point I don`t really care why it
happened. I`m really glad that it did. And I think that that the big
difference that it`s made that there were young men, old men, boys on the
streets with women. And I think that`s the missing piece for the women`s
DUTT: I think it`s time for us to say that men and boys need to step
up and actually take a stand and join the movement. Because if you think
about all of the big shifts, whether it was the vote, whether it`s around
issues of race, whether it`s been, you know, gay marriage, we always needs
to have the larger swath of society get on board.
So I think men on the streets for women`s rights is really good.
HAYES: Yes. I want to talk about that. I want to talk about it in
the Egyptian context, as well, right after we take a quick break.
HAYES: A quick update on the nor`easter. Connecticut Governor Dannel
Malloy has ordered all roads closed until further notice.
NBC`s Ron Allen joins us now from Hartford with the latest -- Ron.
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Things have shut down here, Chris.
It`s pretty much a lockdown situation. Saturday morning, people coming up
and discovered that the roads are closed.
The weather`s still pretty bad. It`s very frigid out here, although
in the last half hour or so, the snow has stopped falling. But nobody`s
going anywhere. There`s a car coming here. I have no idea where he`s
going. It`s very difficult to get around here tonight, this afternoon, all
They`re thinking that the roads will probably be closed perhaps as
soon as -- as late as tomorrow morning. It`s that bad at this point, about
37,000 homes without power which is actually good news. The thinking was
that there would be many more, 100,000 or so. There are 400,000 in
Massachusetts, which was the hardest hit.
But here are again, people digging out and hunkering down for what
could be the entire day before the roads are cleared and people can get
moving again -- Chris.
HAYES: NBC`s Ron Allen in Hartford, Connecticut -- thanks so much.
Stay warm out there.
We`re talking about feminism and global context and global women`s
movements. There was something you wanted to say, Laura, right before the
FLANDERS: I was thinking nor`easter, feminists talk about a feminist
tsunami that has hit the world around violence against women, and the
reporting is just extraordinary. I mean, again, following Eve Ensler in
this one billion rising thing for a few weeks last year, I was able to
watch her Twitter feed and her email inbox.
What is happening around the world in response to violence against
women is extraordinary. Just yesterday, South Africa, a little tiny town
80 miles out of Cape Town, (INAUDIBLE) I think it`s called, a 17-year-old
was found, you know, dying on the street after a gang rape and horrible
mutilation. That is exactly what you said, a fairly daily event.
But in this case, you had tens of thousands of people protesting,
including men of the village. A local radio station and the Cape Town
radio station are now playing beeps every four minutes on the radio to
indicate how often a woman is rape in South Africa. I mean, the stories
pore in from Afghanistan, from Bhutan, where people are going to be doing
bottle lamp protest on February 14th.
I mean, February 14th -- V-Day in this country -- is one billion
rising day around the world. And Eve Ensler`s got an endless body of
evidence to show that there is indeed something happening at this moment
and the internationalism of it I think is what`s so extraordinary.
Women`s movements internationally have been strong and connected in
ways the media didn`t see at the United Nations. Hillary Clinton`s
comments about women`s rights, human rights, were very significant, built
on a movement that have been there for years.
But, today, you`ll see Stella Creasy, one of the British MPs, is
proposing legislation around comprehensive sex education in schools, which
calls the one billion rising legislation. And that sense of having a
movement at your back reminded me of what Gloria Steinem said at the
beginning of your show, where she said it`s one thing to go through
something individually it`s another thing to realize it`s a movement you
could join about it.
HAYES: It`s really interesting to me, too, the focus on sexual
violence, right, and harassment because we were talking in the domestic
context, we`re talking about this centrality of reproductive autonomy and
reproductive freedom as essentially a threshold issue, right?
Everything -- you can`t control your life if you can`t control that
aspect of your life. And it seems to me, in other context, that sexual
harassment, intimidation and sexual violence is the same kind of threshold
issue, right? Like everything -- it is prior to every other thing whether
you can go to school, whether you can get a job, whether you can assert
yourself in other realms, is to not be constantly besieged by street
harassment. And this is what the march in Tahrir was about, right?
ELTAHAWY: Absolutely. There`s a growing realization in Egypt, I hear
this from everybody I met, because I just came back two or three days ago,
that women have had enough. There are men joining as Mallika said in
But what`s also being realized that in the longest time, there`s been
too much social acceptability of this kind of horrendous violence.
ELTAHAWY: For a long time, you know, in the way that in India, it was
called teasing. In Egypt, it would be like flirting or I`m just
complimenting you. Then we began to use words in Arabic that meant
harassment. But even harassment isn`t` enough. This is beyond harassment.
Now, we`re talking sexual violence, sexual assault. And language is
important when you don`t have the word for what`s happening, the social
realization of how horrendous doesn`t exist.
HAYES: What is the word in Arabic?
ELTAHAWY: In Arabic, it`s (SPEAKING ARABIC), which means harassment.
But now, more and more of those activists that you show behind the protest
on Wednesday are using arms against this, which is sexual violence, or
after that, which is sexual assault. And that`s a really important concept
to get out into the public discourse and also changing the language of a
victim of sexual assault to a survivor of sexual assault, because when
you`ve had that transition, it`s really important.
Also, we`ve had many young women go on television and very bravely
speak about their experience, again breaking a barrier. I myself was
sexually assaulted closer to Tahrir Square in November, because I`m older,
because I have this profile, because I have a privilege of being able to
speak on media like yours, I try to speak out as much as I can.
And hear from people that, you know, first, the reaction is horror,
because when you`re on television when you saying I was literally pulling
out hands from my pants, people have said, wow, I`ve never heard that said
before. But you need to make this so horrific so people understand sexual
assault is horrific.
And then you have to make a transition to I survived sexual assault,
what are you going to do about it? And what you saw on Wednesday is women
on the streets saying I`m not going to take this anymore.
And now, it hasn`t been as big as in Delhi. But it`s going to get
bigger. It`s going to get bigger because we realize that we`re at a moment
in Egypt where people are trying to get us out of public space and
precisely the moment that Egypt needs women.
HAYES: I want to ask you, I was saying this on break, we`re talking
now about women and men, and allies of women, and organizing to assert
rights, but what we saw the U.S. in you a very different cultural context
but I think there`s some continuity here was a backlash rose up in
opposition to it, right?
So ,I want to talk about the backlash. But I said this during a
break, when I was watching the revolution, which was this tremendously
inspiring thing, I think for people around the world, right? I mean, just
beautiful, sublime, nonviolence in the streets bringing down this dictator,
and there were -- Glenn Beck was on, and conservatives are saying, you
know, this is -- you`re empowering the mob and a mob is a dark, predatory,
sexual beast, and if you empower the mob, what you will see is violence run
amok and chaos.
And then the reports start to come out of Tahrir of violence and
chaos. And it just deflated me. It depressed me. It made me feel that
the worst right reactionary opponents of the revolution were right about
I want you to respond to that right after we take this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZZA MOUSSA, PROTESTER: I`m here today because I have two (INAUDIBLE)
that the revolution is continuing and that the Egyptian women are
supporting the revolution. And we`ll never around for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is Azza Moussa. She`s a protester in who was part of the
protest against the Muslim Brotherhood but also against sexual harassment
in Tahrir that happened on Wednesday. And I asked you before we went to
break, you know, the kind of sexual assault and sexual harassment that
happened in Tahrir, what does that say about the conservative argument that
revolution brings disorder and chaos and that you need order otherwise you
will unleash this horrible --
ELTAHAWY: First of all, I wish I could (INAUDIBLE) just imagine
there`s a beep right here, because what the right wing does is they create
a lot of noise, useless noise that takes up too much space and they get in
the way, because they understand very well that sexual violence occurs here
in the U.S. And there`s a very, very thin line between Glenn Beck and Todd
Akin and the legitimate rape.
So, the right wing represents the most reprehensible anti-women
stances right here in the U.S. So, don`t get in my way and talk about
Egypt. I sort of beep you. That`s it. I`m done with Glenn Beck.
ELTAHAWY: Because, you know, when you look at a revolution. A
revolution is basically taking off the lid of many, many years of
repression. So you`re going to get a lot of crap that comes out. But
we`re fighting that crap. I mean, you saw these Egyptian women and men on
the street. We`re on the street almost every day.
So, we`re by no means kind of giving in and said, you know, take over
mobs. There are mobs everywhere.
Also, another small reminder to the right wing and the left wing, the
U.S. administration supports a dictator we had in Egypt for 30 years and
before him, that we fought so hard to get rid of and continue to try to get
rid of. And this administration continues to support our president who has
not said one single word after sexual violence in women. The U.S. -- the
Egyptian military continues to get lots of aid from the U.S. and the
Egyptian police force, too, go on and on.
This is exactly what the right wing does, it takes away space from
talking about what here to talk about. And that is women`s issues. And
Glenn Beck is not a friend of women`s issue. We`re fighting the sexual
violence and we`re going to win.
FLANDERS: And if you take it to its ultimate conclusion, what are
they saying, a totalitarian state is a feminist state? (INAUDIBLE) is a
feminist from Egypt who had an extraordinary influence over what happened
in Tahrir. She had meetings in her house for the months and years before
the protest took. She`s the woman who wrote "Women of Point Zero," her
I mean, there`s a story of a feminist Egypt under totalitarianism,
let`s have Glenn Beck look at her record and see what she has to say.
HAYES: But there`s also this trajectory in Egypt, I`d like your
perspective on this, because the trajectory of the U.S. in sort of
mobilization and backlash, right? And, obviously, there`s the mobilization
and there was -- the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power.
ELTAHAWY: Had to be.
HAYES: Of course. I`m curious, is there backlash in India in the
wake of this, is there even a space for backlash in the militarized world
that is Afghanistan?
DUTT: Well, you know, one of the things that I want to say is that
this notion of backlash, especially when it comes to women`s issues is like
an ongoing thing. Patriarch and misogyny exist everywhere and they just
take different forms depending on where you`re located. I mean, let`s just
remember that right now we`re fighting for the survival of the Violence
Against Women Act in the United States.
DUTT: I mean, it`s absurd that after all these years, the issue of
immigrant women, lesbians and Native-American women is holding up a piece
of legislation that we`ve had for 20 years.
Let`s remember the kinds of abuse that women of color, immigration
women face in detention facilities in jails that give birth in shackles. I
mean, just all kinds of stuff that we deal with constantly.
So, to talk about backlash, and you know, if I put on my India hat
since I wear both, I move back and forth -- right now, we`re facing a
situation where India`s growth story is the story of the death of India`s
women. We have a declining sex ratio where, you know, females are just
being decimated, eliminated. So, how do we talk about backlash in that
situation like that?
HAYES: I want to talk about Afghanistan when we come -- you should
know because I have to go to this. But I`m ready to come back to you to
have the final word in the program.
All right. What do we know that we didn`t know last week? My answer
is after this.
HAYES: So, what do we know now that we didn`t know last week?
Now, we now know House Republicans Bob Goodlatte, chair of the
Judiciary Committee, and committee member Lamar Smith, are unconvinced of
the need of a pathway for citizenship for the U.S.`s 11 million
undocumented immigrants. On the committee`s first hearing on immigration
reform, the congressmen treated the path to citizenship as some extreme far
left idea, even though, it would as currently proposed require a background
check and pay fines and back taxes.
We know House Republicans prefer to deal with the issue of high-
skilled workers and farm workers before addressing the overarching issue of
citizenship. And while we can`t know for sure why that is, we suspect it
had to do with the fact that guest workers don`t vote and citizens do.
We know now that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will be the first
Republican governor from a blue state to reject the Affordable Care Act
Medicaid expansion. In his annual speech, Corbett said he would not
implement the expansion without, quote, serious reforms, because of the tax
burden it would place on Pennsylvanians. Corbett didn`t actually specify
the reforms he wants. We know the federal government would pay for 100
percent of the expansion between 2014 and 2016 and at least 90 percent for
years after that.
We know Corbett`s decision would be devastating for the hundreds of
thousands of poor Pennsylvanians who will be denied access to care, not the
mention the hospitals and providers serving poor areas will be denied
funding and patients.
Six Republican governors have announced they will accept the
expansion. We know that if Corbett doesn`t change course to do the same,
he`ll have to answer to Pennsylvania voters.
Finally, we now know that restaurants that refuse to give their
employees paid sick days could be making you sick. It turns out the
infamous norovirus, a nasty gastrointestinal bug raging through the country
that I had the misfortune of getting to know firsthand over winter break is
being transmitted chiefly by food workers. A recent Centers for Disease
Control study identified infected food workers as a source of between 53
and 82 percent of norovirus outbreaks.
We know that the Food Chain Workers Alliance have reported that nearly
80 percent food workers don`t have paid sick days and don`t know whether
they do, which means must food workers who already make very little money
must choose between coming to work sick or forfeiting a day`s wages, and
when they make the decision to go to work even though ill, well, you may
end up ill as well.
We know here in New York, several members of the city council have
proposed a bill that will require employers to give workers just five sick
days a year. But council president and mayoral hopeful, Christine Quinn
opposes this common sense measure and has not brought it to the floor for a
vote. If you are a New Yorker who has had the misfortune of contracting
norovirus, maybe you should send Christine Quinn a note of gratitude.
I want to find out what my guest now know they didn`t know when the
week began. I`ll begin with you, Mona.
ELTAHAWY: Well, Chris, I`d like to share about a Egyptian feminist
whose picture has began to appear, along with other Egyptian women doing
protests that we have in Cairo. And her name is Doria Shafik. And I`m
mentioning her and I want your viewers to know about her, because this idea
that feminism was invented in the West, and we a long history of feminism
And this particular woman in the 1950s stormed parliament with 1,500
women for the right to vote. She ended her life very sadly, because she
was put under house arrest and ended up committing suicide. But what we
are trying to do in Egypt and it`s very important I say, globally, is to
revive and resurrect the memory of these amazing women who brought us to
where we are because we stand on their shoulders.
HAYES: Laura Flanders?
FLANDERS: What I know this week is there`s some really amazing men
out there -- Chris, for you for doing these hours. It`s fantastic.
Also, look at that One Billion Rising Web site, Leo Gerard, the head
of the United Steelworkers Union, recorded a video of which anybody can do
out there, "Why I`m rising". It brought to me to tears. Check it out,
DUTT: So, I`m inviting men around the world to step up to help us
stop violence against women. We are launching 1 million men, or 1 million
promises, concrete actions, step up, join us, build peaceful homes, build
peaceful communities where really human rights, dignity and justice
resonate for us in our homes, our societies, our communities. So check out
our campaign 1 million men, 1 million promises to end violence once and for
HAMADI: I just want the world to know that women are not quiet.
Women are not voiceless in a region as unstable as Afghanistan, Pakistan
and India. And the Women`s Regional Network is actively on the ground, on
the village level, talking to women about their opinions and bringing up
their voices to the world about how they feel -- how they are impacted by
the insecurity on the ground.
I just want to end by saying that even though as women, as a feminist,
as an activist, I don`t want to admit that there is a backlash active in a
place like Afghanistan, but unfortunately, as long as corrupt, militarized
individuals are in control of that region, continually supported by a great
place like America, we will unfortunately as women be forced to operate
within a backlash, because whatever is considered western or defined by
western is something that we are forced to stay away from.
HAYES: My thanks to activist Mona Eltahawy, Laura Flanders from "The
Nation" magazine, Mallika Dutt from the human rights group Breakthrough,
and Rangina Hamidi from the Women`s Regional Network -- thank you all for
Thank you for joining us today for UP. Join us tomorrow, Sunday, at
8:00, and we will have "New York Times" columnist and Nobel Prize-winning
economist Paul Krugman, along with writer Jeremy Scahill, who will be here
to talk about the targeted killing memo unearthed by my colleague Michael
Isikoff this week.
Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP", this week
in voter expression is back, three years and nine months before the next
presidential election. But the amount of voter suppression is already news
this week is frightening. That and the looming risk of World War III over
a small rock sticking out of the Pacific Ocean. That`s "MELISSA HARRIS-
PERRY" coming up next.
We`ll see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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