By Cynthia Hornig – Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a talk at the 92nd Street Y given by New York Senator and rising political star Kirsten Gillibrand (D) with Gloria Steinem. The two discussed Senator Gillibrand’s new book, Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World, women and politics. It was like being a fly on the wall at one of the greatest meetings of feminist minds.

The two women, who are friends, told the crowd that the only reason they agreed to the talk was so they could actually hang out with one another, noting their busy schedules preclude them from getting together as often as they’d like.

The crowd chuckled, but it quickly became clear that these powerhouse women are not just fond of one another, they also share the same passion for engaging and inspiring women to get involved politically and make their voices heard.

“Any one voice can spark change. Never doubt it.” – Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Since her appointment in 2009, filling Hillary Rodham Clinton’s seat, Senator Gillibrand has established herself as a fearless and focused presence in Congress. In 2012 she was elected to her first six-year Senate term winning 72% of the vote, a New York State record. She currently lives in Troy, NY with her husband, Jonathan, and their sons, Theo and Henry.

“I knew from the moment I changed Henry’s diaper on Governor Patterson’s conference room table that I was never going to be the typical senator, and I have never tried to be,” said Senator Gillibrand.

Both Ms. Steinem and Senator Gillibrand had many profound and inspired moments during the talk, here are a few of my favorites…


“When gender comes down upon us, male or female, it comes as a restriction.” – Gloria Steinem

“If only I had Gloria’s wit.” – Senator Gillibrand… “You wouldn’t get elected.” – Gloria Steinem

“Every piece of legislation I’ve passed was because I had a strong Republican woman helping me.” – Senator Gillibrand

“Life happens in small moments, they are often where the important lessons present themselves, and the big truths emerge. – Senator Gillibrand

“Because when some people are invisible, everyone suffers.” – Gloria Steinem

“Gloria is iconic. She has been through fire.” – Senator Gillibrand

“If you follow the voice inside you, it does give you guidance.” – Gloria Steinem

“I don’t like the phrase having it all. It implies we’re being greedy, like ‘have a second piece of pie’. Women are already doing it all.” – Senator Gillibrand

“The face of the workplace has changed, but we’re stuck in the Mad Men era.” – Senator Gillibrand

“Behave like everything you do matters.” – Gloria Steinem

“If 51% of women were in Congress, reproductive rights would not even be on the legislative agenda.” – Senator Gillibrand

“Ambition is not a dirty word.” – Senator Gillibrand

“The roots of the tree are us.” – Gloria Steinem

“YES! We still need the ERA… it would be nice for women to be a part of the Constitution.” – Gloria Steinem

“Any one voice can spark change. Never doubt it.” – Senator Gillibrand

Want more? You can now watch the full talk, made available on 92Y On Demand, a new video, audio and streaming channel.

Cynthia Hornig is Co-Founder and Editorial Director of Women You Should Know