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Can Gloria Steinem Bring Peace to North and South Korea?

The feminist icon is planning a North Korea–approved women’s walk across the DMZ.

North and South Korea have been divided for seven decades this year, but maybe what the conflict needs is a woman’s touch, or, more specifically, a women’s walk, one led by Gloria Steinem. Steinem, along with 29 other women gathered by the organizers behind WomenCrossDMZ.org, are planning to walk the demilitarized zone between the technically warring Koreas on May 24, International Women’s Day for Disarmament. North Korea has already agreed to the support the walk, says Christine Ahn, the co-organizer, and the women are hoping South Korea will bless their mission as well. “It’s hard to imagine any more physical symbol of the insanity of dividing human beings,” Steinem said, when the walk was announced. Two Nobel peace laureates will also join the walk, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, who have intimate experience helping to end long-running conflicts in their own home countries. Should South Korea give their approval as well, the women would be following in the figurative footsteps of a small group of New Zealanders who made the crossing on motorbikes in 2013, and a motorcade of Korean Russians who did it last year. But when it comes to reuniting two embroiled countries, this effort is, literally, a step in the right direction. 

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