In one elegant, prosaic statement, Allende - who was one of the first feminist writers in Chile before fleeing into exile when Pinochet took power - sums up perfectly why I call myself a feminist, and why all women should do the same:
I think that young women today don't want to be called feminists because it's not sexy and they think that their mothers and grandmothers have achieved everything they want. They don't know how poor women live, how women in rural places live, how 80 percent of women in the world are the poorest of the poor, how still today there are 27 million slaves, most of them women and girls. Two thirds of the work in the world is done by women. Women own 1 percent of the assets. Young women are sold into prostitution, forced labour, premature marriage, forced to have children they don't want or they can't support. They're abused, raped, beaten up. Domestic violence is supposed to be a cultural problem. They are the first victims of war, fundamentalism, conflict, recession. And young women today who have access to education and health care and have resources think that everything was done, they don't have to worry. Well that makes me really angry. I feel that I have to shake them and say, "No, it's your responsibility to make things happen." The women's revolution, the women's movement was something extraordinary that changed a generation. It began the movement. We still have a lot to do.
I call myself a feminist - but I know there's still much I have to do before I truly earn the title.