Gloria Steinem Says US is Ready for Female Commander in Chief

PHOTO: Cokie Roberts interviews Gloria Steinem for "This Week" at the University Club in Washington, Oct. 29, 2015Samantha Sergi/ABC News
Cokie Roberts interviews Gloria Steinem for "This Week" at the University Club in Washington, Oct. 29, 2015

Gloria Steinem thinks the United States is ready for a female commander in chief, but said during an interview on ABC News' "This Week" that "it is going to be hell."

The activist and writer sat down with ABC News' Cokie Roberts to discuss her recently published book, "My Life on the Road," which chronicles her journeys around the world educating herself and others about the women's movement over a period of five decades.

Steinem was an early Hillary Clinton supporter, but even as recently as 2008, she did not believe the country was ready for a woman to crack the ultimate glass ceiling.

"What made me feel that way was actually seeing big, grownup friends of ours, guys in the media who are perfectly serious people, saying things like -- about Hillary Clinton, 'I cross my legs whenever I see her. She reminds me of my first wife standing outside alimony court,'" she told Roberts.

But Steinem says she has heard much worse things.

"I think actually that looking at a powerful woman made them feel -- they had been regressed to childhood, because the last time they saw a really powerful woman, they were 8. So they behaved like 8," she said.

A little perspective here: Steinem grew up in a world where women were legally denied jobs and credit and where women were shut out of almost all prominent positions. The idea of a female Supreme Court justice, much less president, was unthinkable.

Although women have made great strides, Steinem said, double standards still exist today, and women can be penalized for the very acts that bring accolades to men.

"A male candidate is applauded for considering the family and what is going to happen, deciding whether to run for the Senate, or president, or something," she said. "If a woman did the same thing, she is often kind of disqualified by that."