Gloria Steinem told a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday that the current debate over women’s rights in the U.S. is not that far off from the restrictive laws placed on women in the Middle East. “Part of the commonality for me is coming from profound recognition that it’s all about controlling reproduction,” Steinem said. “And that means controlling women’s bodies. And it’s so minute … The gender police that we have in every patriarchal society is so detailed there.” Steinem was at the festival discussing the new film Wadija, the first film shot in Saudi Arabia by a female Saudi director. The film is also groundbreaking since it follows a young Saudi girl trying to raise cash to buy a bicycle for a neighborhood boy—despite society’s restrictions for girls. Even though the Saudi government approved the film, director Haifaa al-Mansour still had to abide by Sharia law.
The activist speaks at TriBeCa Film Festival after screening of "Wadija," the first film shot in Saudi Arabia by a female Saudi director.