Who could have predicted what an effect a group of women talking about vaginas would have. Fifteen years ago, Eve Ensler, then a moderately successful New York playwright, opened the play she had been writing for two years, The Vagina Monologues. Drawing on interviews she had done with more than 200 women, the resulting monologues – delivered, over the years, by actors including Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Oprah Winfrey – told of women’s experiences: sexuality, abuse, love, birth.
But Ensler didn’t stop there. Spurred on by the play’s success – and by the stories women would spill to her after performances – two years later she created the V-Day movement. Mission: to end violence against women. Now, fundraising performances of the play are staged all over the world, and the movement has raised $85m to fund women’s projects, including an ambitious centre in Congo, officially the worst place to be a woman, to support women who have been raped. Could she have predicted its longevity and influence? “It’s all been a wonderful mystery to me,” she says, with a laugh.
Read the full interview in The Guardian.