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January 31, 2012
Contact: Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

Co-Founder of Ms. Magazine Speaks at GMC

POULTNEY— Green Mountain College will host Ms. magazine co-founder Jane O’Reilly for a talk on women’s rights and the feminist movement on February 7, 2012, at 9:30 a.m., in the Gorge (Withey Hall). The event is free and open to the public. A coffee reception will follow.

O’Reilly got pregnant while she was a senior in college at Radcliffe, but put the newborn girl up for adoption immediately after birth. She hid her pregnancy and kept the secret for a long time, fearing expulsion from Radcliffe College, an all-girls Catholic school.

O’Reilly became a freelance writer in New York City, writing for Vogue and other publications. That’s where she met Gloria Steinem, in 1972, while they were both working for New York magazine. Steinem, O’Reilly, and several others colleagues co-founded Ms., the first national magazine “to make feminist voices audible, feminist journalism tenable, and a feminist worldview available to the public,” according the magazine’s website.

The cover story of the first issue of the publication was O’Reilly’s essay “Click! The Housewife’s Moment of Truth.” She says that “Click!” was one of her first defense of women’s rights that got published. “I wrote with such determination and passion, sure that we would bring about the revolution immediately,” she said in an interview. “It’s a great revolution that [men] realize their hands are capable of washing dishes. The separate spheres are no longer so separate,” she declared.

O’Reilly became a familiar face of the feminist movement, and for a long time Ms. received letters from readers commenting on O’Reilly’s cover story. One of her essays read: “Last summer I got a letter, from a man who wrote: ‘I do not agree with your last article, and I am canceling my wife’s subscription.’ The next day I got a letter from his wife saying, ‘I am not canceling my subscription.’ Click!”

O’Reilly also published a book The Girl Left Behind: The Housewife Moment of Truth and Other Feminist Ravings in 1980. The collection of essays describes her experiences in the feminist revolution, and explores the problems women still face.
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