If you look at history, even recent history, you see that there is indeed progress. … Over time, the cycle is clearly, generally upwards. And it doesn't happen by laws of nature. And it doesn't happen by social laws. … It happens as a result of hard work by dedicated people who are willing to look at problems honestly, to look at them without illusions, and to go to work chipping away at them, with no guarantee of success — in fact, with a need for a rather high tolerance for failure along the way, and plenty of disappointments.
Romania had been under communist rule since 1945, but it was after Ceausescu came to power in 1965 that life really began to deteriorate. . . . Then, one night in the late 1980s, a group of men dressed as street sweepers draped the statue of Lenin in Bucharest with big truck tires and set them on fire. It was a bold and daring act in a country where, it was said, for every Romanian on the street there were two secret police officers. The next morning traffic was detoured while workers from nearby factories were brought in to clean the statue with razor blades. That day I realized that change was possible.
It was thanks to women like Eppie that this moment in history could exist — a moment when a woman could be a serious contender for the presidency of the United States. In the 1970s Eppie had defied her husband by helping to found a Planned Parenthood branch in her town. She'd started a women's empowerment group before most of us even knew what empowerment meant.