In her 1991 autobiography Ginger: My Story, Ginger Rogers didn’t mince words: “It was tough being a woman in the theatrical business in those days…women were not allowed in the production department or in the directorial field. We had script girls, dress fitters, costume designers, and stand-ins, but no women were on the cameras or operating the sound boom, or, indeed, working on any of the sound equipment. There were no women set designers, nor were females allowed to act as assistant directors or directors.” In 1982, a comic strip summed up Hollywood sexism in one memorable phrase: “Sure [Fred Astaire] was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, backwards…and in high heels!”

From making childhood cross-country journeys with her father to speaking on college campuses and at political rallies as an adult, Gloria Steinem has spent most of her life on the road—a domain historically populated by men. In the new memoir My Life on the Road, her eighth book, Steinem chronicles her years spent traveling the country; her stories of welcoming and companionship challenge the notion that the road is no place for women. Trips such as these certainly broaden our insight, and for those of us with less experience, armchair traveling with Steinem is a pretty good stand-in.