Well-known feminist icon and author Gloria Steinem has made an endorsement in on Hawaii’s Congressional election.
Kathryn Xian, who is best known for efforts to help child trafficking victims and labor trafficking victims here in the islands through her group, the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, now has Steinem’s backing.
Steinem, the co-founder of Ms. magazine, co-founder of the Women’s Media Center, author of seven books, and a former columnist for New York magazine, said Xian has been a constant champion of women’s rights in Hawaii as the executive director of the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery and has helped dozens of women overcome the oppression of sex-trafficking.
Xian also heads Girl Fest Hawaii, an annual festival devoted to preventing gender-based violence and advancing women’s empowerment through the arts and education.
Steinem said as founder of Girl Fest Hawaii, Xian “has highlighted the power of education and art to fight violence of all kinds against women of all ages.”
“While Kathryn embraces the political goals necessary to further women’s interests, her candidacy also paves the road for future female leaders,” said Steinem. “We need leaders in Washington, like Kathryn, who will not only vote for social justice, but inspire others to speak about their own struggles, as well.”
Xian said she is humbled and honored by this endorsement: “I’ve spent my life working to provide opportunities to disadvantaged women and help victims of sexual exploitation, and see my efforts as building on the legacy of Steinem and her peers.”
The values of Xian’s campaign mirror Steinem’s commitment to women’s progress, Xian said.
“Decades after the women’s liberation movement began, women are still battling inequality from the boardroom to the bedroom,” said Xian. “We must continue to advance the status of women in our society by preventing gender-based violence, stopping sexual harassment, safeguarding reproductive rights, and ensuring that women’s pay equals that of their male counterparts in the workplace.”
Xian, a Democrat, is the only candidate for the Congressional race who is not an elected politician. She also has advocated for gay marriage, rights of the homeless, student tuition decreases at the University of Hawaii, and a higher minimum wage.
A number of other Democrats have entered the congressional race to replace Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who has opted to run for U.S. Senate.
Several of those candidates, including state Rep. Mark Takai, state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and Honolulu City Council member Ikaika Anderson have received union endorsements.
Takai has also received endorsements from veterans groups, and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, a former Hawaii resident and former appointee of President Barack Obama.
No Republicans have entered the race.