Originally published on Open Democracy 50.50, 27 September 2016.
By Valerie Hudson
Gloria Steinem’s name has become synonymous with feminism, but it’s also true to say her life has been devoted to the cause of peace. In her 81st year, Steinem joined a group of 30 women peacemakers who marched (or attempted to march) across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, to highlight the political-military stalemate there. Two Nobel laureates, Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee, also marched. This was no orchestrated photo op. Steinem explained that they’d arrived not knowing if they’d actually be allowed to cross or not, and that it was “remarkable” that they were given permission to do so by the two opposed governments. “North and South Korean women can’t walk across the DMZ legally,” she said. “We from other countries can. So I feel we are walking on their behalf.”