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Inequality

  • In a culture that gives men irresponsible power and women powerless responsibility, the advancement of civilization cannot be a serious goal.

  • No man can call himself liberal, or radical, or even a conservative advocate of fair play, if his work depends in any way on the unpaid or underpaid labor of women at home, or in the office.

  • However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group's greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four. However far it may expand, the progression inevitably rests on unequal power and airtight roles within the family.

  • ... the less powerful group usually knows the powerful one much better than vice versa — blacks have had to understand whites in order to survive, women have had to know men — yet the powerful group can afford to regard the less powerful one as a mystery.

  • Homemakers work longer and harder than any other class of worker in the United States for less pay, and are the most likely to be replaced by a younger worker.

    • Gloria Steinem,
    • speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors' convention ()
  • ... the system which admits the unworthy to the vote provided they are men, and shuts out the worthy provided they are women, is so unjust and illogical that its perpetuation is a sad reflection upon American thinking.

  • Had I been crested, not cloven, my Lords, you had not treated me thus.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • to courtiers, in Nigel Nicolson, Portrait of a Marriage ()
  • ... woman's subordination came to be complete. She was first knocked down, dragged away senseless, and made a slave. She was bought and sold, or traded; she became a thing, a piece of property, a bond slave. Her degraded position among men became a custom, then an institution, then a tradition.

  • ... if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove any thing.

  • Privilege is the greatest enemy of justice.

  • It was hard to speed the male child up the stony heights of erudition, but it was harder still to check the female child at the crucial point, and keep her tottering decorously behind her brother.

  • Marriage ... is still the imperfect institution it must remain while women continue to be ill-educated, passive, and subservient ...

  • The labor of women in the house certainly, enables men to produce more wealth than they otherwise could; and in this way women are economic factors in society. But so are horses. The labor of horses enables men to produce more wealth than they otherwise could. The horse is an economic factor in society. But the horse is not economically independent, nor is the woman.

  • The women who do the most work get the least money, and the women who have the most money do the least work.

  • Privilege, almost by definition, requires that someone else pay the price for its enjoyment.

    • Paula Ross,
    • "Women, Oppression, Privilege, and Competition," in Valerie Miner and Helen E. Longino, eds., Competition ()
  • ... the world tells us what we are to be, and shapes us by the ends it sets before us. To you it says — work; and to us it says — seem!

  • In theory we are all equal before the law. In practice, there are overwhelming privileges that come with winning the birth lottery.

  • For Nature is not unjust. She does not steal into the womb and like an evil fairy give her good gifts secretly to men and deny them to women. Men and women are born free and equal in ability and brain. The injustice begins after birth.

  • ... the vicious result of privilege is that the creature who receives it becomes incapacitated by it as by a disease.

  • I can think of no honorable answer. Why must some of us deliberate between brands of toothpaste, while others deliberate between damp dirt and bone dust to quiet the fire of an empty stomach lining? There is nothing about the United States I can really explain to this child of another world.

  • The entire social order ... is arrayed against a woman who wants to rise to a man's reputation.

  • Who's counting? It was, of course, the minority who were counting. It always is. Most of the women I know today would dearly like to use their fingers and toes for some activity more enthralling than counting. They have been counting for so long. But the peculiar problem of the new math is that every time we stop adding, somebody starts subtracting. At the very least (the advanced students will understand this) the rate of increase slows. ... The minority members of any group or profession have two answers: They can keep score or they can lose.

  • So long as it is women who are mainly in charge of children the double standard will survive.

  • She supposed that she was not in love with Henry, but, even had she been in love with him, she could see therein no reason for foregoing the whole of her own separate existence. Henry was in love with her, but no one proposed that he should forego his. On the contrary, it appeared that in acquiring her he was merely adding something extra to it. He would continue ... to enjoy his free, varied, and masculine life, with no ring upon his finger or difference in his name to indicate the change in his estate ...

  • We are half the world's population — with a very limited recorded past. Our significance to the human story has been undersung, undervalued, underappreciated.

    • Gene Trolander,
    • in Imogen Davenport Trolander and Phyllis Lawson Jackson, eds., Celebrating Women ()
  • Will it be said that the judgment of a male of two years old, is more sage than that of a female's of the same age? I believe the reverse is generally observed to be true. But from that period what partiality! how is the one exalted, and the other depressed, by the contrary modes of education which are adopted! the one is taught to aspire, and the other is early confined and limited. As their years increase, the sister must be wholly domesticated, while the brother is led by the hand through all the flowery paths of science.

  • A woman's work, from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed, is as hard as a day at war, worse than a man's working day. ... To men, women's work was like the rain-bringing clouds, or the rain itself. The task involved was carried out every day as regularly as sleep. So men were happy — men in the Middle Ages, men at the time of the Revolution, and men in 1986: everything in the garden was lovely.