Gender equality fight goes on

Evan Smith just keeps on reeling in the big hitters.

The Texas Tribune editor in chief’s next “Overheard with Evan Smith,” to air Thursday at 8 p.m. on KACV-TV, features arguably the godmother of the modern feminist movement, Gloria Steinem.

Steinem will discuss gender equality today, tracking back through the history of the feminist movement.

Gloria Steinem is no stranger to controversy. She fought valiantly for what turned out to be a losing battle to attach the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in the 1970s. ERA would have codified in the Constitution that women would have the same rights of equality as every other American. Both houses of Congress approved the amendment, but the proposal fizzled eventually when proponents couldn’t get the required 38 state legislatures to ratify it.

The fight has gone on ever since. Two key fights stand out:

* Women have sought to have the military lift combat restrictions for female service personnel. Although women still cannot serve in any of the combat arms of the Army or the Marine Corps — infantry, artillery or armor — women are performing heroically on the battlefield in support roles, such as driving transport convoys and flying combat aircraft in support of ground operations.

* One of President Obama’s first major pieces of legislation involved the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which guarantees equal pay for women who perform the same work as men.

Is there a “glass ceiling” that inhibits women to this day? Yes. Steinem and others are seeking to remove that ceiling and allow women to achieve the highest positions of authority right alongside their male colleagues.

She’ll talk about all that with Evan Smith. “Overheard” is worth overhearing.

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