Watch the interview with Gloria Steinem POV conducted in 2005.
What do you think of Chisholm ’72?
Gloria Steinem: I’m very grateful to Shola [Lynch, filmmaker] personally, because I had run as her delegate — that is as Shirley Chisholm’s delegate — in the Democratic primary. I lost, our slate lost, as we knew we would, to the McGovern slate. But I had worked with her politically in those years. Together, with others, we founded the National Women’s Political Caucus and this is a part of my history, too, that gets lost. Because of this wonderful documentary it has been returned to me. I will have much less trouble explaining what I was doing in those years. And, more important, people will meet Shirley Chisholm, be inspired by her and come away from this really feeling that they intimately know her. There is not a narration on this documentary. There is the thing. It’s not about the thing, it’s the thing itself.
Chisholm and Steinem (left) at the National Women’s Political Caucus in the early 1970s
What do you think is Chisholm’s legacy today?
Steinem: You know, we do what we see, not what we’re told. And she took the “white male only,” little subliminal sign off the White House, which means its never the same. Now we say, “Why aren’t there more candidates of color? Why aren’t there more women candidates?” Of course at the level of the Senate and the House [of Representatives], there are indeed many more. If you consider that we’ve been choosing our presidential candidate from — if you discount the female half of the population, the non-white part of the population, you know you keep going mathematically — we’ve been choosing from six percent of the population! And I haven’t even started on inheritance yet, which, of course, we have now in the White House. So we desperately need more talent and she gave us the vision of what more talent looks like.