The Boomer List - Film Outtakes: Women and Power

Three powerful baby boomer women — journalist Maria Shriver, playwright Eve Ensler, and historian Julieanna Richardson — speak about their personal lives and the place of women in society in outtakes from American Masters: The Boomer List, directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Maria Shriver: Know Your Own Power

Journalist Maria Shriver (b. 1955) remembers that her accomplished mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, didn’t feel she had any real power, at least not in comparison to the men in her family, many of them elected officials. Yet her mother received much recognition in her lifetime. Shriver observes, “It taught me that people don’t often know their own power, they can’t see themselves.”

Eve Ensler on Physical Empowerment

“So much of patriarchy and capitalism has been about taking women in particular out of their bodies,” says playwright Eve Ensler (b. 1953). The writer of The Vagina Monologues says, “When enough women really get back into their bodies, something is going to happen on this planet that will be very, very powerful and we’re seeing the very beginning signs of it.”

Julieanna Richardson on Sexism and Careers

Julieanna Richardson (b. 1954), historian and founder of HistoryMakers, says that before she worked for a black administration under Chicago’s Mayor Harold Washington (1983 – 1987), she wasn’t familiar with sexism. “I could only see the world in black and white and racism, I did not understand sexism at all … I’ve always felt that black females were at the bottom of the heap, that we got it from both sides, in many ways.”

Richardson admits she’s had to struggle with prejudice and sexism in her career. “I’ve waited until I could be the age I am now, so that people would sort of accept me for who I was.”

American Masters: The Boomer List, premiering nationwide Tuesday, September 23, 9-10:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), tells the story of this influential generation through the lives of 19 iconic boomers—one born each year of the baby boom.