What would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?
The answer is clear – menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much. Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties. Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp out monthly discomforts. Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free.
– Gloria Steinem, extracted from her 1978 essay If Men Could Menstruate, first published Ms. magazine.
“Honey, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”
– Gloria Steinem, in 1996 HBO film If These Walls Could Talk
Read Steinem’s 1978 essay in full here: If Men Could Menstruate
Words and Women is a regular feature that spotlights short quotations from influential women activists, artists, and authors.