50 Years Ago, Gloria Steinem Wrote an Essay for TIME About Her Hopes for Women’s Futures. Here’s What She’d Add Today

Gloria Steinem

I n the half-century since I wrote the essay below, as part of a cover story on “The Politics of Sex,” there has been some definite progress. “Women’s issues” are no longer in a silo but are understood as fundamental to everything. For instance, the single biggest determinant of whether a country is violent, or will use military violence against another country, is not poverty, natural resources, religion or even degree of democracy; it is violence against women . And since racial separation can’t be perpetuated in the long run without controlling reproduction—and thus women’s bodies— racism and sexism are intertwined and can only be uprooted together.

A belief in equality , without division by sex or race, is now held by a huge majority in public–opinion polls. But a stubborn minority of Americans feel deprived of the unearned privilege of that old hierarchy and are in revolt. The time of greatest danger comes after a victory, and that’s where we are now. Many of the predictions of my 50-year-old essay about the future hold up, but there are a few lessons I’ve learned since then (including to negotiate a writing fee beforehand, since my agent later told me I was paid less than male contributors).

I won’t be around when these words are read 50 years from now, but I have faith in you who will be.

Steinem is a writer and feminist organizer

What It Would Be Like If Women Win

By Gloria Steinem Originally published: Aug. 31, 1970

Seldom do utopias pass from dream to reality, but it is often an illuminating exercise to predict what could happen if they did. The following very personal and partisan speculations on how the world might be different if Women’s Lib had its way were written for TIME by Gloria Steinem, a contributing editor of New York magazine, whose journalistic curiosity ranges from show business to Democratic politics. Miss Steinem admits to being not only a critical observer but a concerned advocate of the feminist revolt.

Any change is fearful, especially one affecting both politics and sex roles, so let me begin these utopian speculations with a fact. To break the ice.

Women don’t want to exchange places with men. Male chauvinists, science-fiction writers and comedians may favor that idea for its shock value, but psychologists say it is a fantasy based on ruling-class ego and guilt. Men assume that women want to imitate them, which is just what white people assumed about blacks. An assumption so strong that it may convince the second-class group of the need to imitate, but for both women and blacks that stage has passed. Guilt produces the question: What if they could treat us as we have treated them?

That is not our goal. But we do want to change the economic system to one more based on merit. In Women’s Lib Utopia, there will be free access to good jobs — and decent pay for the bad ones women have been performing all along, including housework. *Increased skilled labor might lead to a four-hour workday , and higher wages would encourage further mechanization of repetitive jobs now kept alive by cheap labor.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: As people look at screens more than at one another, the opposite has happened; the workday never ends

*With women as half the country’s elected representatives, and a woman President once in a while , the country’s machismo problems would be greatly reduced. The old-fashioned idea that manhood depends on violence and victory is, after all, an important part of our troubles in the streets, and in Viet Nam. I’m not saying that women leaders would eliminate violence. We are not more moral than men; we are only uncorrupted by power so far. When we do acquire power, we might turn out to have an equal impulse toward aggression. Even now, Margaret Mead believes that women fight less often but more fiercely than men, because women are not taught the rules of the war game and fight only when cornered. But for the next 50 years or so, women in politics will be very valuable by tempering the idea of manhood into something less aggressive and better suited to this crowded, post-atomic planet. Consumer protection and children’s rights, for instance, might get more legislative attention.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: With Trump as a backlash to Obama, almost any woman President would be a relief

Men will have to give up ruling-class privileges, but in return they will no longer be the only ones to support the family, get drafted, bear the strain of power and responsibility. Freud to the contrary, anatomy is not destiny, at least not for more than nine months at a time. In Israel, women are drafted, and some have gone to war. In England, more men type and run switchboards. In India and Israel, a woman rules. In Sweden, both parents take care of the children. In this country, come Utopia, men and women won’t reverse roles; they will be free to choose according to individual talents and preferences.

If role reform sounds sexually unsettling, think how it will change the sexual hypocrisy we have now. No more sex arranged on the barter system, with women pretending interest, and men never sure whether they are loved for themselves or for the security few women can get any other way. (Married or not, for sexual reasons or social ones, most women still find it second nature to Uncle-Tom.) No more men who are encouraged to spend a lifetime living with inferiors; with housekeepers, or dependent creatures who are still children. No more domineering wives, emasculating women, and “Jewish mothers,” all of whom are simply human beings with all their normal ambition and drive confined to the home. No more unequal partnerships that eventually doom love and sex.

In order to produce that kind of confidence and individuality, child rearing will train according to talent. Little girls will no longer be surrounded by air-tight, self-fulfilling prophecies of natural passivity, lack of ambition and objectivity, inability to exercise power, and dexterity (so long as special aptitude for jobs requiring patience and dexterity is confined to poorly paid jobs; brain surgery is for males).

Schools and universities will help to break down traditional sex roles, even when parents will not. *Half the teachers will be men , a rarity now at preschool and elementary levels; girls will not necessarily serve cookies or boys hoist up the flag. Athletic teams will be picked only by strength and skill. Sexually segregated courses like auto mechanics and home economics will be taken by boys and girls together. New courses in sexual politics will explore female subjugation as the model for political oppression, and women’s history will be an academic staple, along with black history, at least until the white-male-oriented textbooks are integrated and rewritten.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: Not until we start paying public-school teachers as much as every other democracy does

As for the American child’s classic problem—too much mother, too little father—that would be cured by an equalization of parental responsibility. Free nurseries, school lunches, family cafeterias built into every housing complex, service companies that will do household cleaning chores in a regular, businesslike way, and more responsibility by the entire community for the children: all these will make it possible for both mother and father to work, and to have equal leisure time with the children at home. For parents of very young children, however, a special job category, created by Government and unions, would allow such parents a shorter work day.

The revolution would not take away the option of being a housewife. A woman who prefers to be her husband’s housekeeper and/or hostess would receive a percentage of his pay determined by the domestic relations courts. If divorced, she might be eligible for a pension fund, and for a job-training allowance. *Or a divorce could be treated the same way that the dissolution of a business partnership is now.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: Once domestic labor is accorded the same value as salaried work

If these proposals seem farfetched, consider Sweden, where most of them are already in effect. Sweden is not yet a working Women’s Lib model; most of the role-reform programs began less than a decade ago, and are just beginning to take hold. But that country is so far ahead of us in recognizing the problem that Swedish statements on sex and equality sound like bulletins from the moon.

Our marriage laws, for instance, are so reactionary that Women’s Lib groups want couples to take a compulsory written exam on the law, as for a driver’s license, before going through with the wedding. A man has alimony and wifely debts to worry about, but a woman may lose so many of her civil rights that in the U.S. now, in important legal ways, she becomes a child again. In some states, she cannot sign credit agreements, use her maiden name, incorporate a business, or establish a legal residence of her own. Being a wife, according to most social and legal definitions, is still a 19th century thing.

Assuming, however, that these blatantly sexist laws are abolished or reformed, that job discrimination is forbidden, that parents share financial responsibility for each other and the children, and that sexual relationships become partnerships of equal adults (some pretty big assumptions), then marriage will probably go right on. Men and women are, after all, physically complementary. When society stops encouraging men to be exploiters and women to be parasites, they may turn out to be more complementary in emotion as well. Women’s Lib is not trying to destroy the American family. A look at the statistics on divorce—plus the way in which old people are farmed out with strangers and young people flee the home—shows the destruction that has already been done. Liberated women are just trying to point out the disaster, and build compassionate and practical alternatives from the ruins.

What will exist is a variety of alternative life-styles. Since the population explosion dictates that childbearing be kept to a minimum, parents-and-children will be only one of many “families”: couples, age groups, working groups, mixed communes, blood-related clans, class groups, creative groups. Single women will have the right to stay single without ridicule, without the attitudes now betrayed by “spinster” and “bachelor.” Lesbians or homosexuals will no longer be denied legally binding marriages, complete with mutual-support agreements and inheritance rights. Paradoxically, the number of homosexuals may get smaller. With fewer overpossessive mothers and fewer fathers who hold up an impossibly cruel or perfectionist idea of manhood, boys will be less likely to be denied or reject their identity as males.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: I would cut this line, since it’s now more clear that we are born whoever we are.

Changes that now seem small may get bigger:

MEN’S LIB. Men now suffer from more diseases due to stress, heart attacks, ulcers, a higher suicide rate, greater difficulty living alone, less adaptability to change and, in general, a shorter life span than women. There is some scientific evidence that what produces physical problems is not work itself, but the inability to choose which work, and how much. With women bearing half the financial responsibility, and with the idea of “masculine” jobs gone, men might well feel freer and live longer.

RELIGION. Protestant women are already becoming ordained ministers; radical nuns are carrying out liturgical functions that were once the exclusive property of priests; Jewish women are rewriting prayers—particularly those that Orthodox Jews recite every morning thanking God they are not female. In the future, the church will become an area of equal participation by women. This means, of course, that organized religion will have to give up one of its great historical weapons: sexual repression. In most structured faiths, from Hinduism through Roman Catholicism, the status of women went down as the position of priests ascended. Male clergy implied, if they did not teach, that women were unclean, unworthy and sources of ungodly temptation, in order to remove them as rivals for the emotional forces of men. Full participation of women in ecclesiastical life might involve certain changes in theology, such as, for instance, a radical redefinition of sin.

LITERARY PROBLEMS. Revised sex roles will outdate more children’s books than civil rights ever did. Only a few children had the problem of a Little Black Sambo , but most have the male-female stereotypes of “Dick and Jane.” A boomlet of children’s books about mothers who work has already begun, and liberated parents and editors are beginning to pressure for change in the textbook industry. Fiction writing will change more gradually, but romantic novels with wilting heroines and swashbuckling heroes will be reduced to historical value. Or perhaps to the sadomasochist trade. ( Marjorie Morningstar , a romantic novel that took the ’50s by storm, has already begun to seem as unreal as its ’20s predecessor, The Sheik .) As for the literary plots that turn on forced marriages or horrific abortions, they will seem as dated as Prohibition stories. Free legal abortions and free birth control will force writers to give up pregnancy as the deus ex machina .

MANNERS AND FASHION. Dress will be more androgynous, with class symbols becoming more important than sexual ones. Pro-or anti-Establishment styles may already be more vital than who is wearing them. Hardhats are just as likely to rough up antiwar girls as antiwar men in the street, and police understand that women are just as likely to be pushers or bombers. Dances haven’t required that one partner lead the other for years, anyway. Chivalry will transfer itself to those who need it, or deserve respect: old people, admired people, anyone with an armload of packages. Women with normal work identities will be less likely to attach their whole sense of self to youth and appearance; thus there will be fewer nervous breakdowns when the first wrinkles appear. Lighting cigarettes and other treasured niceties will become gestures of mutual affection. “I like to be helped on with my coat,” says one Women’s Lib worker, “but not if it costs me $2,000 a year in salary.”

For those with nostalgia for a simpler past, here is a word of comfort. Anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer studied the few peaceful human tribes and discovered one common characteristic: sex roles were not polarized. Differences of dress and occupation were at a minimum. Society, in other words, was not using sexual blackmail as a way of getting women to do cheap labor, or men to be aggressive.

*Thus Women’s Lib may achieve a more peaceful society on the way toward its other goals. That is why the Swedish government considers reform to bring about greater equality in the sex roles one of its most important concerns. As Prime Minister Olof Palme explained in a widely ignored speech delivered in Washington this spring: “It is human beings we shall emancipate. In Sweden today, if a politician should declare that the woman ought to have a different role from man’s, he would be regarded as something from the Stone Age.” In other words, the most radical goal of the movement is egalitarianism.

If Women’s Lib wins, perhaps we all do.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: The relationship between violence against females and all violence other than self-defense should inform our foreign policy

This article is part of 100 Women of the Year , TIME’s list of the most influential women of the past century. Read more about the project , explore the 100 covers and sign up for our Inside TIME newsletter for more.

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Gloria Steinem

By: History.com Editors

Updated: August 21, 2018 | Original: December 16, 2009

Portrait of American feminist leader and author Gloria Steinem in a room at a Holiday Inn, San Francisco, California, November 1977. (Photo by Janet Fries/Getty Images)

Social activist, writer, editor and lecturer Gloria Steinem was born in Ohio in 1934. Steinem helped create New York magazine in the 1960s, and in the 1970s she was among the founders of the National Women’s Political Caucus and the feminist Ms magazine. Diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1980s, Steinem overcame the disease and continued to write influential books and essays. Despite her longtime opposition to marriage, she wed environmental and animal rights activist David Bale at age 66.

Born on March 25, 1934, in Toledo, Ohio . Since the late 1960s, Gloria Steinem has been an outspoken champion of women’s rights. She had an unusual upbringing, spending part of the year in Michigan and the winters in Florida or California . With all this traveling, Steinem did not attend school on a regular basis until she was 11.

Around this time, Steinem’s parents divorced and she ended up caring for her mother, Ruth, who suffered from mental illness. Steinem spent six years living with her mother in a rundown home in Toledo before leaving to go to college. At Smith College, she studied government, a non-traditional choice for a woman at that time. It was clear early on that she did not want to follow the most common life path for women in those days marriage and motherhood. 

“In the 1950s, once you married you became what your husband was, so it seemed like the last choice you’d ever have I’d already been the very small parent of a very big child my mother. I didn’t want to end up taking care of someone else,” she later told People magazine.

Pioneering Feminist

After finishing her degree in 1956, Steinem received a fellowship to study in India. She first worked for Independent Research Service and then established a career for herself as a freelance writer. One of her most famous articles from the time was a 1963 expose on New York City’s Playboy Club for Show magazine. Steinem went undercover for the piece, working as a waitress, or a scantily clad “bunny” as they called them, at the club. In the late 1960s, she helped create New York magazine, and wrote a column on politics for the publication. Steinem became more engaged in the women’s movement after reporting on an abortion hearing given by the radical feminist group known as the Redstockings. She expressed her feminist views in such essays as “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation.”

In 1971 Steinem joined other prominent feminists, such as Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan , in forming the National Women’s Political Caucus, which worked on behalf of women’s issues. She also took the lead in launching the pioneering, feminist Ms magazine. It began as an insert in New York magazine in December 1971; its first independent issue appeared in January 1972. Under her direction, the magazine tackled important topics, including domestic violence. Ms. became the first national publication to feature the subject on its cover in 1976.

As her public profile continued to rise, Gloria Steinem faced criticism from some feminists, including the Redstockings, for her association with the CIA-backed Independent Research Service. Others questioned her commitment to the feminist movement because of her glamorous image. Undeterred, Steinem continued on her own way, speaking out, lecturing widely, and organizing various women’s functions. She also wrote extensively on women’s issues. Her 1983 collection of essays, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions , featured works on a broad range of topics from “The Importance of Work” to “The Politics of Food.”

Impact and Criticism

In 1986, Steinem faced a very personal challenge when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was able to beat the disease with treatment. That same year, Steinem explored one of America’s most iconic women in the book Marilyn: Norma Jean . She became a consulting editor at Ms magazine the following year after the publication was sold to an Australian company.

Steinem found herself the subject of media scrutiny with her 1992 book Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem . To some feminists, the book’s focus on personal development to be a retreat from social activism. Steinem was surprised by the backlash, believing that a strong self-image to be crucial to creating change. “We need to be long-distance runners to make a real social revolution. And you can’t be a long-distance runner unless you have some inner strength,” she explained to People magazine. She considers the work to be “most political thing I’ve written. I was saying that many institutions are designed to undermine our self-authority in order to get us to obey their authority,” she told Interview magazine.

Steinem had another collection of writings, Moving Beyond Words: Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking Boundaries of Gender , published in 1994. In one of the essays, “Doing Sixty,” she reflected on reaching that chronological milestone. Steinem was also the subject of a biography written by another noted feminist Carolyn G. Heilbrun entitled Education of a Woman: The Life of Gloria Steinem .

Personal Life

In 2000, Steinem did something that she had insisted for years that she would not do. Despite being known for saying that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, Steinem decided to get married. She wed David Bale, an environmental and animal rights activist and the father of actor Christian Bale. At the age of 66, Steinem proved that she was still unpredictable and committed to charting her own path in life. Her wedding raised eyebrows in certain circles. But the union did not last long. Bale died of brain cancer in 2003. “He had the greatest heart of anyone I’ve known,” Steinem told O magazine.

Steinem continues to work for social justice. As she recently said, “The idea of retiring is as foreign to me as the idea of hunting.”

Biography courtesy of BIO.com

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Gloria Steinem

Social activist, writer, editor and lecturer Gloria Steinem has been an outspoken champion of women's rights since the 1960s.

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Quick Facts

Pioneering feminist, impact and criticism, personal life, who is gloria steinem.

Gloria Steinem became a freelance writer after college and grew more and more engaged in the women's movement and feminism. She helped create both New York and Ms. magazines, helped form the National Women's Political Caucus, and is the author of many books and essays.

FULL NAME: Gloria Marie Steinem BORN: March 25, 1934 BIRTHPLACE: Toledo, OH SPOUSE: David Bale (m. 2000-2003) ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Aries

Steinem was born on March 25, 1934, in Toledo, Ohio. Since the late 1960s, Steinem has been an outspoken champion of women's rights. She had an unusual upbringing, spending part of the year in Michigan and the winters in Florida or California. With all this traveling, Steinem did not attend school on a regular basis until she was 11.

Around this time, Steinem's parents divorced and she ended up caring for her mother, Ruth, who suffered from mental illness. Steinem spent six years living with her mother in a rundown home in Toledo before leaving to go to college. At Smith College, she studied government, an non-traditional choice for a woman at that time. It was clear early on that she did not want to follow the most common life path for women in those days—marriage and motherhood. "In the 1950s, once you married you became what your husband was, so it seemed like the last choice you'd ever have…I'd already been the very small parent of a very big child—my mother. I didn't want to end up taking care of someone else," she later told People magazine.

After finishing her degree in 1956, Steinem received a fellowship to study in India. She first worked for Independent Research Service and then established a career for herself as a freelance writer. One of her most famous articles from the time was a 1963 expose on New York City's Playboy Club for Show magazine. Steinem went undercover for the piece, working as a waitress, or a scantily clad "bunny" as they called them, at the club. In the late 1960s, she helped create New York magazine, and wrote a column on politics for the publication. Steinem became more engaged in the women's movement after reporting on an abortion hearing given by the radical feminist group known as the Redstockings. She expressed her feminist views in such essays as "After Black Power, Women's Liberation."

In 1971, Steinem joined other prominent feminists, such as Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan , in forming the National Women's Political Caucus, which worked on behalf of women's issues. She also took the lead in launching the pioneering, feminist Ms magazine. It began as an insert in New York magazine in December 1971; its first independent issue appeared in January 1972. Under her direction, the magazine tackled important topics, including domestic violence. Ms. became the first national publication to feature the subject on its cover in 1976.

As her public profile continued to rise, Steinem faced criticism from some feminists, including the Redstockings, for her association with the CIA-backed Independent Research Service. Others questioned her commitment to the feminist movement because of her glamorous image. Undeterred, Steinem continued on her own way, speaking out, lecturing widely, and organizing various women's functions. She also wrote extensively on women's issues. Her 1983 collection of essays, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions , featured works on a broad range of topics from "The Importance of Work" to "The Politics of Food."

In 1986, Steinem faced a very personal challenge when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was able to beat the disease with treatment. That same year, Steinem explored one of America's most iconic women in the book Marilyn: Norma Jean . She became a consulting editor at Ms magazine the following year after the publication was sold to an Australian company.

Steinem found herself the subject of media scrutiny with her 1992 book Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem . To some feminists, the book's focus on personal development seemed to be a retreat from social activism. Steinem was surprised by the backlash, believing that a strong self-image to be crucial to creating change. "We need to be long-distance runners to make a real social revolution. And you can't be a long-distance runner unless you have some inner strength," she explained to People magazine. She considers the work to be "most political thing I've written. I was saying that many institutions are designed to undermine our self-authority in order to get us to obey their authority," she told Interview magazine.

Steinem had another collection of writings, Moving Beyond Words: Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking Boundaries of Gender , published in 1994. In one of the essays, "Doing Sixty," she reflected on reaching that chronological milestone. Steinem was also the subject of a biography written by another noted feminist Carolyn G. Heilbrun entitled Education of a Woman: The Life of Gloria Steinem .

In 2000, Steinem did something that she had insisted for years that she would not do. Despite being known for saying that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, Steinem decided to get married. She wed David Bale, an environmental and animal rights activist and the father of actor Christian Bale . At the age of 66, Steinem proved that she was still unpredictable and committed to charting her own path in life. Her wedding raised eyebrows in certain circles. But the union did not last long. Bale died of brain cancer in 2003. "He had the greatest heart of anyone I've known," Steinem told O magazine.

When Steinem turned 75 in 2009, the Ms. Foundation suggested ways for others to celebrate Steinem's birthday. It called on women to engage in outrageous acts for simple justice. Around this time, Steinem discussed some of the pressing issues of the day. "We've demonstrated that women can do what men do, but not yet that men can do what women do. That's why most women have two jobs—one inside the home and one outside it—which is impossible. The truth is that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it," Steinem told the New York Daily News .

Steinem continues to work for social justice. As she recently said, "The idea of retiring is as foreign to me as the idea of hunting."

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On Her 90th Birthday, Revisiting Gloria Steinem in New York

Portrait of Christopher Bonanos

Gloria Steinem turns 90 today. To most of the world, of course, she is a defining public face of feminism, but we at New York also think of her as one of our own. Starting in the early 1960s, when she was a few years out of Smith College, she began writing steadily for Clay Felker, then an editor at Esquire . He published her first big story, about women and contraception. Another story she published during that era (in Show magazine) about going undercover as a Bunny at the Playboy Club found her a great deal of attention, and when Felker eventually went out to start New York in 1968 , Steinem and Tom Wolfe often joined him for lunches with potential investors, lending him their high profiles and ability to charm. (Steinem has referred to these meetings as “tap-dancing for rich people.”)

Starting in our very first issue, she became a contributing editor and columnist, steadily covering city and national politics from a generally leftist perspective. She wrote about Bella Abzug and John Lindsay, about Teddy Kennedy and Ralph Nader, about Vietnam and abortion rights. You can, reading her columns, almost chart her gradual progression from columnist to activist. In the fall of 1971, she left us to co-found Ms., which launched with a 32-page insert in the center of New York’ s year-end double issue.

To mark her 90th, we’re republishing 15 of her old stories from our archives, most of them resurfaced for the first time. Some are revelatory; others are just interesting snapshots of their time, including a wild look at “new love styles” that we ran for Valentine’s Day 1970. Another column from that year contains a passage about a brand-new abbreviation, neither “Miss” nor “Mrs.,” that was beginning to gain traction in the language. Writes Steinem: “I’m all in favor of the new form, and will put it on all letters and documents. But an airline clerk asked me ‘Miss or Mrs.?’ on the phone, and I was stumped. How the hell do you pronounce Ms .?”

Thanks to her later work, we all know now. Happy birthday, Ms. Steinem.

From the Archives:

“Ho Chi Minh in New York” (April 8, 1968) In our first issue, Steinem digs into rumors of the Vietnamese leader’s time in Manhattan.

“The City on the Eve of Destruction” (April 22, 1968) Gloria Steinem and Lloyd Weaver report from New York City on the night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder.

“In Your Heart, You Know He’s Nixon” (October 28, 1968) “As we learned who Kennedy was only after he died, we may learn who Nixon is only after he is President.”

“Women and Power” (December 23, 1968) “As Jacqueline Kennedy was quoted, ‘There are two kinds of women: those who want power in the world and those who want power in bed.”

“After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” (April 4, 1969) Can the women’s liberation movement can feel solidarity with poor women of all colors?

“The Souls of (Lower-Middle-Class) White Folk” (September 15, 1969) Steinem on the emerging coalition of affluent Republicans and blue-collar whites.

“Vietnam in Queens” (November 10, 1969) From 1969, reporting on the antiwar views of returning wounded soldiers.

“That Woman in City Hall” (January 5, 1970) A profile of Ronnie Eldridge, special assistant to Mayor John Lindsay.

“Hi There, I’m Ed Koch” (January 26, 1970) Steinem profiles the charming, ambitious congressman who, less than a decade later, was elected mayor.

“Laboratory for Love Styles” (February 16, 1970) A dispatch on the rapidly evolving relationship dynamics of the early 1970s.

“The Politics of Sex and Fashion” (March 16, 1970) Repressed fashion, Steinem writes, often pairs with societal oppression.

“The War Against Nixon” (May 18, 1970) On the backlash against the president in the days after the Kent State shootings.

“More Hot-Weather Specials” (August 24, 1970) Steinem introduces a new abbreviation, neither Mrs. nor Miss, in this 1970 column. “How do you pronounce ‘Ms.’?”

“Getting Rich Off Welfare” (January 18, 1971) On the grim state of welfare services in New York City.

“Sisterhood” (December 20, 1971) From the launch issue of Ms. , a report on the state of intersectional feminism.

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50 Years Ago, Gloria Steinem Wrote an Essay for TIME About Her Hopes for Women’s Futures. Here’s What She'd Add Today

In the half-century since I wrote the essay below, as part of a cover story on “The Politics of Sex,” there has been some definite progress. “Women’s issues” are no longer in a silo but are understood as fundamental to everything. For instance, the single biggest determinant of whether a country is violent, or will use military violence against another country, is not poverty, natural resources, religion or even degree of democracy; it is violence against women . And since racial separation can’t be perpetuated in the long run without controlling reproduction—and thus women’s bodies— racism and sexism are intertwined and can only be uprooted together.

A belief in equality , without division by sex or race, is now held by a huge majority in public–opinion polls. But a stubborn minority of Americans feel deprived of the unearned privilege of that old hierarchy and are in revolt. The time of greatest danger comes after a victory, and that’s where we are now. Many of the predictions of my 50-year-old essay about the future hold up, but there are a few lessons I’ve learned since then (including to negotiate a writing fee beforehand, since my agent later told me I was paid less than male contributors).

I won’t be around when these words are read 50 years from now, but I have faith in you who will be.

Steinem is a writer and feminist organizer

What It Would Be Like If Women Win

By Gloria Steinem Originally published: Aug. 31, 1970

Seldom do utopias pass from dream to reality, but it is often an illuminating exercise to predict what could happen if they did. The following very personal and partisan speculations on how the world might be different if Women’s Lib had its way were written for TIME by Gloria Steinem, a contributing editor of New York magazine, whose journalistic curiosity ranges from show business to Democratic politics. Miss Steinem admits to being not only a critical observer but a concerned advocate of the feminist revolt.

Any change is fearful, especially one affecting both politics and sex roles, so let me begin these utopian speculations with a fact. To break the ice.

Women don’t want to exchange places with men. Male chauvinists, science-fiction writers and comedians may favor that idea for its shock value, but psychologists say it is a fantasy based on ruling-class ego and guilt. Men assume that women want to imitate them, which is just what white people assumed about blacks. An assumption so strong that it may convince the second-class group of the need to imitate, but for both women and blacks that stage has passed. Guilt produces the question: What if they could treat us as we have treated them?

That is not our goal. But we do want to change the economic system to one more based on merit. In Women’s Lib Utopia, there will be free access to good jobs — and decent pay for the bad ones women have been performing all along, including housework. *Increased skilled labor might lead to a four-hour workday , and higher wages would encourage further mechanization of repetitive jobs now kept alive by cheap labor.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: As people look at screens more than at one another, the opposite has happened; the workday never ends

*With women as half the country’s elected representatives, and a woman President once in a while , the country’s machismo problems would be greatly reduced. The old-fashioned idea that manhood depends on violence and victory is, after all, an important part of our troubles in the streets, and in Viet Nam. I’m not saying that women leaders would eliminate violence. We are not more moral than men; we are only uncorrupted by power so far. When we do acquire power, we might turn out to have an equal impulse toward aggression. Even now, Margaret Mead believes that women fight less often but more fiercely than men, because women are not taught the rules of the war game and fight only when cornered. But for the next 50 years or so, women in politics will be very valuable by tempering the idea of manhood into something less aggressive and better suited to this crowded, post-atomic planet. Consumer protection and children’s rights, for instance, might get more legislative attention.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: With Trump as a backlash to Obama, almost any woman President would be a relief

Men will have to give up ruling-class privileges, but in return they will no longer be the only ones to support the family, get drafted, bear the strain of power and responsibility. Freud to the contrary, anatomy is not destiny, at least not for more than nine months at a time. In Israel, women are drafted, and some have gone to war. In England, more men type and run switchboards. In India and Israel, a woman rules. In Sweden, both parents take care of the children. In this country, come Utopia, men and women won’t reverse roles; they will be free to choose according to individual talents and preferences.

If role reform sounds sexually unsettling, think how it will change the sexual hypocrisy we have now. No more sex arranged on the barter system, with women pretending interest, and men never sure whether they are loved for themselves or for the security few women can get any other way. (Married or not, for sexual reasons or social ones, most women still find it second nature to Uncle-Tom.) No more men who are encouraged to spend a lifetime living with inferiors; with housekeepers, or dependent creatures who are still children. No more domineering wives, emasculating women, and “Jewish mothers,” all of whom are simply human beings with all their normal ambition and drive confined to the home. No more unequal partnerships that eventually doom love and sex.

In order to produce that kind of confidence and individuality, child rearing will train according to talent. Little girls will no longer be surrounded by air-tight, self-fulfilling prophecies of natural passivity, lack of ambition and objectivity, inability to exercise power, and dexterity (so long as special aptitude for jobs requiring patience and dexterity is confined to poorly paid jobs; brain surgery is for males).

Schools and universities will help to break down traditional sex roles, even when parents will not. *Half the teachers will be men , a rarity now at preschool and elementary levels; girls will not necessarily serve cookies or boys hoist up the flag. Athletic teams will be picked only by strength and skill. Sexually segregated courses like auto mechanics and home economics will be taken by boys and girls together. New courses in sexual politics will explore female subjugation as the model for political oppression, and women’s history will be an academic staple, along with black history, at least until the white-male-oriented textbooks are integrated and rewritten.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: Not until we start paying public-school teachers as much as every other democracy does

As for the American child’s classic problem—too much mother, too little father—that would be cured by an equalization of parental responsibility. Free nurseries, school lunches, family cafeterias built into every housing complex, service companies that will do household cleaning chores in a regular, businesslike way, and more responsibility by the entire community for the children: all these will make it possible for both mother and father to work, and to have equal leisure time with the children at home. For parents of very young children, however, a special job category, created by Government and unions, would allow such parents a shorter work day.

The revolution would not take away the option of being a housewife. A woman who prefers to be her husband’s housekeeper and/or hostess would receive a percentage of his pay determined by the domestic relations courts. If divorced, she might be eligible for a pension fund, and for a job-training allowance. *Or a divorce could be treated the same way that the dissolution of a business partnership is now.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: Once domestic labor is accorded the same value as salaried work

If these proposals seem farfetched, consider Sweden, where most of them are already in effect. Sweden is not yet a working Women’s Lib model; most of the role-reform programs began less than a decade ago, and are just beginning to take hold. But that country is so far ahead of us in recognizing the problem that Swedish statements on sex and equality sound like bulletins from the moon.

Our marriage laws, for instance, are so reactionary that Women’s Lib groups want couples to take a compulsory written exam on the law, as for a driver’s license, before going through with the wedding. A man has alimony and wifely debts to worry about, but a woman may lose so many of her civil rights that in the U.S. now, in important legal ways, she becomes a child again. In some states, she cannot sign credit agreements, use her maiden name, incorporate a business, or establish a legal residence of her own. Being a wife, according to most social and legal definitions, is still a 19th century thing.

Assuming, however, that these blatantly sexist laws are abolished or reformed, that job discrimination is forbidden, that parents share financial responsibility for each other and the children, and that sexual relationships become partnerships of equal adults (some pretty big assumptions), then marriage will probably go right on. Men and women are, after all, physically complementary. When society stops encouraging men to be exploiters and women to be parasites, they may turn out to be more complementary in emotion as well. Women’s Lib is not trying to destroy the American family. A look at the statistics on divorce—plus the way in which old people are farmed out with strangers and young people flee the home—shows the destruction that has already been done. Liberated women are just trying to point out the disaster, and build compassionate and practical alternatives from the ruins.

What will exist is a variety of alternative life-styles. Since the population explosion dictates that childbearing be kept to a minimum, parents-and-children will be only one of many “families”: couples, age groups, working groups, mixed communes, blood-related clans, class groups, creative groups. Single women will have the right to stay single without ridicule, without the attitudes now betrayed by “spinster” and “bachelor.” Lesbians or homosexuals will no longer be denied legally binding marriages, complete with mutual-support agreements and inheritance rights. Paradoxically, the number of homosexuals may get smaller. With fewer overpossessive mothers and fewer fathers who hold up an impossibly cruel or perfectionist idea of manhood, boys will be less likely to be denied or reject their identity as males.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: I would cut this line, since it’s now more clear that we are born whoever we are.

Changes that now seem small may get bigger:

MEN’S LIB. Men now suffer from more diseases due to stress, heart attacks, ulcers, a higher suicide rate, greater difficulty living alone, less adaptability to change and, in general, a shorter life span than women. There is some scientific evidence that what produces physical problems is not work itself, but the inability to choose which work, and how much. With women bearing half the financial responsibility, and with the idea of “masculine” jobs gone, men might well feel freer and live longer.

RELIGION. Protestant women are already becoming ordained ministers; radical nuns are carrying out liturgical functions that were once the exclusive property of priests; Jewish women are rewriting prayers—particularly those that Orthodox Jews recite every morning thanking God they are not female. In the future, the church will become an area of equal participation by women. This means, of course, that organized religion will have to give up one of its great historical weapons: sexual repression. In most structured faiths, from Hinduism through Roman Catholicism, the status of women went down as the position of priests ascended. Male clergy implied, if they did not teach, that women were unclean, unworthy and sources of ungodly temptation, in order to remove them as rivals for the emotional forces of men. Full participation of women in ecclesiastical life might involve certain changes in theology, such as, for instance, a radical redefinition of sin.

LITERARY PROBLEMS. Revised sex roles will outdate more children’s books than civil rights ever did. Only a few children had the problem of a Little Black Sambo , but most have the male-female stereotypes of “Dick and Jane.” A boomlet of children’s books about mothers who work has already begun, and liberated parents and editors are beginning to pressure for change in the textbook industry. Fiction writing will change more gradually, but romantic novels with wilting heroines and swashbuckling heroes will be reduced to historical value. Or perhaps to the sadomasochist trade. ( Marjorie Morningstar , a romantic novel that took the ’50s by storm, has already begun to seem as unreal as its ’20s predecessor, The Sheik .) As for the literary plots that turn on forced marriages or horrific abortions, they will seem as dated as Prohibition stories. Free legal abortions and free birth control will force writers to give up pregnancy as the deus ex machina .

MANNERS AND FASHION. Dress will be more androgynous, with class symbols becoming more important than sexual ones. Pro-or anti-Establishment styles may already be more vital than who is wearing them. Hardhats are just as likely to rough up antiwar girls as antiwar men in the street, and police understand that women are just as likely to be pushers or bombers. Dances haven’t required that one partner lead the other for years, anyway. Chivalry will transfer itself to those who need it, or deserve respect: old people, admired people, anyone with an armload of packages. Women with normal work identities will be less likely to attach their whole sense of self to youth and appearance; thus there will be fewer nervous breakdowns when the first wrinkles appear. Lighting cigarettes and other treasured niceties will become gestures of mutual affection. “I like to be helped on with my coat,” says one Women’s Lib worker, “but not if it costs me $2,000 a year in salary.”

For those with nostalgia for a simpler past, here is a word of comfort. Anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer studied the few peaceful human tribes and discovered one common characteristic: sex roles were not polarized. Differences of dress and occupation were at a minimum. Society, in other words, was not using sexual blackmail as a way of getting women to do cheap labor, or men to be aggressive.

*Thus Women’s Lib may achieve a more peaceful society on the way toward its other goals. That is why the Swedish government considers reform to bring about greater equality in the sex roles one of its most important concerns. As Prime Minister Olof Palme explained in a widely ignored speech delivered in Washington this spring: “It is human beings we shall emancipate. In Sweden today, if a politician should declare that the woman ought to have a different role from man’s, he would be regarded as something from the Stone Age.” In other words, the most radical goal of the movement is egalitarianism.

If Women’s Lib wins, perhaps we all do.

*Gloria Steinem in 2020: The relationship between violence against females and all violence other than self-defense should inform our foreign policy

This article is part of 100 Women of the Year , TIME’s list of the most influential women of the past century. Read more about the project , explore the 100 covers and sign up for our Inside TIME newsletter for more.

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Gloria Steinem

gloria steinem essays

A Lifetime Spent Fighting for Women’s Rights

On their shoulders.

For millennia, great thinkers and scholars have been working to understand the quirks of the human mind. Today, we’re privileged to put their insights to work, helping organizations to reduce bias and create better outcomes.

American feminist, journalist, media producer, and political activist Gloria Steinem is considered the world’s most famous feminist for her work in the Women’s Liberation Movement. 1 Spanning from the late 1960s to the 1970s, the Women’s Liberation Movement fought for equal opportunities and rights, as well as greater personal freedom for women. 2 To this end, Steinem has also been referenced as being involved with the second wave of feminism.

Steinem co-founded Ms. Magazine, the first feminist magazine, and has helped launch a variety of groups dedicated to advancing civil rights. 2 Her perseverance in the field of feminism has resulted in influential organizations supporting women’s rights, such as the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and the Women’s Media Center. Among other honors, Steinem was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013 for her activism, an award recognizing her meritorious contributions and bestowed by President Barack Obama. Steinem continues to travel as an organizer and lecturer on issues of equality. 3

The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. We are filled with popular wisdom of several centuries just past, and we are terrified to give it up. - Gloria Steinem

Top Innovative Ideas/Concepts/Legacies

Gloria Steinem is most known for her activism in the Women’s Liberation Movement, a social movement in the 1960s and 1970s that sought equal rights and opportunities, as well as greater freedom for women. 2, 4

The Women’s Liberation Movement occurred during a period of patriarchal, male-dominated institutions and cultural practices. 4 As such, feminist activists had to persevere during challenging contexts and against backlash, forcing Steinem to adopt innovative approaches to advance equal rights. Since her involvement in the 1960s and 1970s, society has seen some progress regarding equal rights and opportunities. Although there is still work to be done, the world is a better place due to Steinem’s feminist activism. While the first wave of feminism focused on gender equality in the legal domain - such as voting and property rights - the Women’s Liberation Movement was part of the second wave of feminism, which addressed a broad range of topics such as sexuality, the workplace, reproductive rights, and family. 6  

An example of Steinem’s involvement with the Women’s Liberation Movement is the creation of the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC). Steinem co-founded the NWPC in July 1971 with other female activists including Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, and Myrlie Evers-Williams. 2 The NWPC has since supported gender equality and provided training for women who sought elected and/or appointed offices in government. 7 The goal of the NWPC is to ensure the involvement of more pro-equality women in public office, especially to important policy-making posts. In order to do this, the NWPC works with other women’s groups and reviews the qualifications of hundreds of women, selecting names and credentials to submit to new administrations. As a co-founder, Steinem delivered a speech in July 1971 titled, “Address to the Women of America” where she said:

This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race, because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing humans into superior and inferior groups, and into the cheap labor on which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen, or those earned. We are really talking about humanism. 8

(F) Steinem believes the advancement of equal rights and opportunities for women is crucial for better the world, as demonstrated in her activism and some journalistic pieces such as “What It Would Be Like If Women Win” . 5 Steinem has also contributed to political campaigns across the years, voicing her support for and against certain administrations regarding their stance on equal rights. Steinem endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton in both the 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns, 9 10 and spoke at the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017, after the inauguration of Donald Trump. 11 The demonstration was meant to support civil rights and gender equality - issues that were expected to face challenges under President Donald Trump. There has been no shortage of Steinem’s activism in the 20th and 21st centuries, even in the past few years.

Historical Biography

Gloria Steinem was born on March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio. 12 Spending her early years traveling in a house trailer with her parents, Steinem started attending school on a regular basis after her parent’s divorce in 1944. As a child, Gloria took care of her mother who was chronically depressed and often experienced delusions that would occasionally turn violent. Steinem believed that her mother’s inability to hold a job was due to workplace hostility toward women, and that the apathy exhibited by doctors toward her mother’s condition stemmed from an anti-woman attitude. These experiences convinced Steinem that women lacked equality, influencing her understanding of social injustices.

Steinem moved to Washington, D.C. during her last year of high school to live with her older sister, where she attended Western High School. 2 Steinem went on to study government at Smith College in Massachusetts, a liberal arts college for women. After graduating in 1956, Steinem received the Chester Bowles fellowship, which allowed her to spend two years in India writing for journal publications. It was here that her interest in grassroots activism started, participating in nonviolent protests against government policy and inspired by Gandhian activism. 3

In 1960, Steinem moved to New York, where she started being more active in politics as a journalist and columnist. 1 Her first big story was on the state of contraception , for Esquire Magazine. One of her most controversial pieces came soon after in 1963, when she went undercover as a Playboy Bunny at the New York Playboy Club. 13 In a two-part diary-style piece for Show Magazine, Steinem detailed how the women were treated and exploited. Stuffing cleavage, sexual demands, pay, and rules about who to date - to name a few - were all documented. It was 1969, however, when Steinem really embraced her calling for activism. She attended an abortion speak-out for New York Magazine, at a time where women were not afforded the freedom of choice. 14 As she listened to women in a secret gathering, sharing their stories, Gloria thought of her own secret abortion in 1957. Her own experience with the illegal procedure, while hearing other women’s experiences, resulted in a “big click”.

After this, Steinem went on to attend many activist campaigns and helped found multiple women’s organizations. 2 She co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971 and also co-founded Ms. Magazine in the same year, the first magazine that treated contemporary issues from a feminist perspective. She helped found the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) in 1973, an organization of women trade unionists. 15 The CLUW supports legislation to end wage discrepancies, as well as the implementation of child-care and parental-leave policies. Steinem aso helped found Voters for Choice and Women Against Pornography, as well as the Women’s Media Center. Founded in 2005 alongside fellow activists Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan, the Women’s Media Center a non-profit women’s organization that connects journalists, bookers, and producers. 16

Steinem characterizes herself as a radical feminist, having shown up across all categories related to feminism. 17 She co-produced an Emmy Award winning HBO documentary on child abuse, “Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories,” and co-produced a movie for Lifetime, “Better off Dead,” examining the forces that both oppose abortion and support the death penalty. 3 Steinem herself has been the subject of documentaries and movies, and has received numerous awards, such as being inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993, the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the 2017 Ban Ki-moon Award for Women’s Empowerment. Steinem has achieved all her successes while overcoming breast cancer and trigeminal neuralgia. 1 18

Relevant Quotes

“Revolutions that last don’t happen from the top down. They happen from the bottom up.”

-Gloria Steinem

“A belief in equality, without division by sex or race, is now held by a huge majority in public-opinion polls. But a stubborn minority of Americans feel deprived of the unearned privilege of that old hierarchy and are in revolt. The time of greatest danger comes after a victory, and that’s where we are now.”

-Gloria Steinem in her 2020 TIME Magazine article

“Like art, revolutions come from combining what exists into what has never existed before.”

-Gloria Steineim in her collection of essays, Moving Beyond Words

“We’ll never solve the feminization of power until we solve the masculinity of wealth.”

“From now on, no man can call himself liberal, or radical, or even a conservative advocate of fair play, if his work depends in any way on the unpaid or underpaid labor of women at home, or in the office.”

-Gloria steinem in her book, My Life on the Road

Books/Readings/Lectures/Seminars

“A Bunny’s Tale”: Part 1 and Part 2 by Gloria Steinem, in Show Magazine (1963). In the early stages of her journalism career, Steinem went undercover as a Playboy Bunny at the New York Playboy Club, under the alias of Marie Catherine Ochs. Perhaps one of Steinem’s most famous works, “A Bunny’s Tale” exposed the exploitative working conditions of Playboy Bunnies, including the sexual demands and restrictions imposed upon them.

“After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” by Gloria Steinem, in New York Magazine (!969). This article brought Steinem to national fame as a feminist leader, as she redefined notions of liberty. Moreover, Steinem recognizes the role that African American women played in fueling the momentum for early feminism, and how they shaped the movement.

“What Would it Be Like if Women Win” by Gloria Steinem, in Time Magazine (1970). In this article, Steinem describes the utopic future she envisions, where traditional gender roles would be relaxed and sexist laws would be abolished. Women would see more gender fluidity and equality. The linked article contains the original, revisited by Steinem in 2020, on what she would add or change.

“If Men Could Menstruate” by Gloria Steinem, in Ms. Magazine (1978). In a satirical essay published in Ms. Magazine - the first feminist magazine co-founded by Steinem - she demonstrates her feminist alignments by imagining a world where men could menstruate instead of women. She proposes that in this world, menstruation would become a badge of honor as men compared their relative sufferings, instead of the source of shame that it had been for women.

Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem by Gloria Steinem (1993). In this novel, Steinem recognizes that one must first engage in a revolution within themselves - regarding their self-esteem - before engaging in a political revolution. Steinem exercises her writing abilities here, covering ways to take control of one’s self-esteem and encouraging readers to trust their “one true inner voice”.

Moving Beyond Words by Gloria Steinem (1994). This collection of essays examines the state of the women’s movement in the 1990s and explores possibilities for the future. Steinem focuses on issues including female politicians, economic empowerment and life affirmations.

“Gloria Steinem: First Feminist” in New York Magazine (1998). In this interview, Steinem recounts covering an abortion speak-out for the magazine back in 1969. Steinem herself had an abortion when she was 22 years old, and she describes how she didn’t begging her life as an active feminist until that day when she felt a “big click” at the speak-out.

As If Women Matter: The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader by Gloria Steinem (2014). Steinem publishes another collection of thought-provoking essays, this time purely focused on feminism. The essays stem from her experiences in India and other developing countries, to her activism in the United States. Steinem touches on topics such as violence and human trafficking, including a never-before released essay on sex trafficking titled, “The Third Way”.

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (2015). In this memoir, Steinem explores how her early years shaped her later life, one of which was constantly on-the-road. Steinem considers her own growth as she has travelled, listening to and learning from others, and how this shaped her activism in the women’s movement.

The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!: Thoughts on Life, Love, and Rebellion by Gloria Steinem (2019). The quotes included in this profile only offer a snippet into Steinem’s many inspirational insights. In this illustrated collection of Steinmen’s most inspirational - as well as controversial - quotes, readers can develop a richer picture of Gloria Steinmen.

  • Karbo, K. (2019, March 25). How Gloria Steinem became the “world’s most famous feminist”. National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/how-gloria-steinem-became-worlds-most-famous-feminist
  • Gloria Steinem. (2021, March 21). Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gloria-Steinem
  • About - Gloria Steinem. (2021). Gloria Steinem. http://www.gloriasteinem.com/about
  • Burkett, E. (2020, November 6). Women’s rights movement. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/event/womens-movement
  • Steinem, G. (2020, March 5). 50 years ago, Gloria Steinem wrote an essay for TIME about her hopes for women’s futures. Here’s what she’d add today. TIME. https://time.com/5795657/gloria-steinem-womens-liberation-progress/
  • Burkett, E. (2021, March 24). Feminism. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/feminism
  • National Women’s Political Caucus. (2007, December 17). Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/National-Womens-Political-Caucus
  • Gloria Steinem addresses the women of America. (2012, May 30). History. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/gloria-steinem-addresses-the-nwpc-video
  • Feldman, C. (2007, September 18). Has Gloria Steinem mellowed? No way. Houston Chronicle. https://www.chron.com/life/article/Has-Gloria-Steinem-mellowed-No-way-1839201.php
  • James, B. (2016, February 10). Media bigwigs donate to Hillary Clinton; Writers donate to Bernie Sanders. International Business Times. https://www.ibtimes.com/media-bigwigs-donate-hillary-clinton-writers-donate-bernie-sanders-2301896
  • Hartocollis, A., & Alcindor, Y. (2017, January 21). Women’s March highlights as huge crows protest Trump: “We’re not going away”. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/us/womens-march.html
  • Steinem, G. (1983). Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
  • Mills, N. (2013, May 26). Gloria Steinem’s “A Bunny’s Tale” - 50 years later. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/26/gloria-steinem-bunny-tale-still-relevant-today
  • Pogrebin, A. (2011, October 28). How do you spell Ms. New York Magazine. https://nymag.com/news/features/ms-magazine-2011-11/
  • Coalition of Labor Union Women. (2019, December 16). Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Coalition-of-Labor-Union-Women
  • What we do. (2021). Women’s Media Center. https://www.womensmediacenter.com
  • Schnall, M. (1995, April 3). Interview with Gloria Steinem. Feminist.com. https://www.feminist.com/resources/artspeech/interviews/gloria.htm
  • Gorney, C. (1995). Gloria. Mother Jones. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/1995/11/gloria/

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Activist Gloria Steinem reflects on abortion rights as they hang in the balance

Mary Louise Kelly, photographed for NPR, 6 September 2022, in Washington DC. Photo by Mike Morgan for NPR.

Mary Louise Kelly

Courtney Dorning

Courtney Dorning

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with activist Gloria Steinem on the fight to secure abortion rights more than 50 years ago and what the possible overturning of 'Roe v. Wade' may mean for women's rights.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It was this past September that three members of Congress shared their personal stories of abortion.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

PRAMILA JAYAPAL: I speak to you as one of the 1 in 4 women in America who have had an abortion.

BARBARA LEE: ...To the days when I was a teenager and had a back-alley abortion in Mexico.

CORI BUSH: I was raped. I became pregnant. And I chose to have an abortion.

KELLY: That is Democratic Congresswomen Cori Bush, Barbara Lee and Pramila Jayapal discussing their abortions before a House committee. They were joined by another woman who shared the story of her illegal abortion in 1957.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GLORIA STEINEM: After what seemed to be an eternity of confusion and fear, I found a very kind and brave English doctor who was willing to help me.

KELLY: Gloria Steinem - Steinem has been an activist for abortion rights and feminism for decades. But before she became a feminist icon, she was a 22-year-old living in England, pregnant when she didn't want to be. We wanted to know how she was thinking about last week's Supreme Court arguments about a restrictive Mississippi abortion law - arguments that left many believing the court could overturn Roe v. Wade. Gloria Steinem, welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

STEINEM: Thank you for this great program. Thank you.

KELLY: Thank you. We're glad to have you with us. May I ask what was going through your head as you watched what many, including justices on the Supreme Court, have said is settled law suddenly look not very settled at all last week?

STEINEM: Well, many things - I mean, I guess I was not surprised by this present dilemma because controlling reproduction has always been the first step in any hierarchical or authoritarian government. Those who are authoritarian or hierarchical in their outlook in this, you know, still patriarchal time look to control the one thing they don't have as the first effort in creating a hierarchy.

KELLY: You just called this a still patriarchal time, 2021. You think that's true?

STEINEM: Yes, I think it is. I mean, if you look at the distribution of wealth and salaries, if you look at decision making in the household, which is more democratic than it used to be but not still completely democratic, if you look at naming, though many women keep their own names, some women keep two names. Men don't. You know, I mean, it may seem minor, but it's pervasive.

KELLY: Would you paint us a picture of what it was like to try to get an abortion in 1957?

STEINEM: I was in London because I had a fellowship in India. I was awaiting my visa. So I was living in London, working as a waitress in order to support myself. And, you know, I had all the usual fantasies - maybe if I go horseback riding, maybe if I throw myself down the stairs. You know, our minds race through all possible alternatives. And it was sheer luck of going to a doctor whose name I found in the telephone book. Due to his kindness, due to his looking at me and saying, if you promise never to tell anyone my name, that I will help you. And so he sent me to a woman doctor who actually did the procedure.

KELLY: Wow. If you promise to never tell anyone my name...

STEINEM: Yes.

KELLY: That's how deep the fear ran.

STEINEM: Yes. Yes.

KELLY: You - I mean, you've covered all this as a journalist. What were the attitudes towards women like you who had abortions in the years before Roe v. Wade was decided?

STEINEM: Of course, it still was something like 1 in 3 women, but it was way, way more secret. I mean, women whose mothers had had an abortion didn't tell their daughters, for instance. You know, it was present always as a subculture. But it was a subject of secrecy, illegality and sometimes shame.

KELLY: So I guess I'm curious, for someone like you who's been around long before this became a right in the United States and who are now watching and seeing the right to an abortion in jeopardy, do you think people who support abortion rights have worked hard enough to keep them? Or has that right come to be taken for granted?

STEINEM: It should be taken for granted because if we don't have control of our own physical selves, we don't have a democracy. The problem is not the people who support abortion or who have had abortions. It's the people who oppose it and, therefore, are trying to take the first step in an authoritarian system.

KELLY: I guess the challenge is that many people see it differently, including, potentially, it looks like a majority of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. So I guess I'll ask again, does more need to be done for those who believe in the right to abortion?

STEINEM: Yes. We need to change who's on the Supreme Court so it represents the country. I mean, you know, they're - the mainly men on that court are never going to have to make this decision. It's not their decision. It's not their bodies.

KELLY: Just to come back at you one more time, I'm hearing the voices of people who argue against abortion rights who would be shouting at their radios right now, abortion is controlling reproduction, that...

STEINEM: Well, then they don't have to have an abortion. They just can't tell somebody else what to do.

KELLY: You are - you're 87 years old, Gloria Steinem. Am I right?

STEINEM: Yes. Shocking, isn't it?

STEINEM: I don't know how it happened.

KELLY: Yeah. Did you think you'd still be fighting this fight in 2021?

STEINEM: You know, I'm not sure that I thought that far forward, but I always knew, because it's so obvious, that this is the first step in every authoritarian system. I mean, you can't look at Hitler or Mussolini or any authoritarian system and not see that controlling reproduction is the first step.

KELLY: Just explain that to me a little bit more 'cause you've said it a couple of times. Why would overturning the right to abortion be a step towards an authoritarian country?

STEINEM: Well, what democracy means is the right to make decisions for ourselves and, in the majority, to make decisions for the country - but first, to make it for ourselves. Freedom of speech is not different from freedom of reproduction.

KELLY: What would you say to the next generation of activists in this country, the ones who will be wrestling with this and other issues of feminism in the years and decades to come?

STEINEM: Well, you know, I'm not sure I would say anything. I would listen to them - you know? - listen and see what they're experiencing and say, OK, I'm here to help. How can I help?

KELLY: That's activist and journalist Gloria Steinem. Thank you.

STEINEM: No, thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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What Does 90 Look Like?Just Ask Gloria Steinem

This essay originally appeared in Ms. Magazine. 

gloria steinem essays

“ I’m 90?!”  my mother horrifyingly exclaimed the day I told her she reached this extraordinary birthday milestone. “ Ooooh, don’t tell anybody!”  she warned, cautioning me to keep quiet about what seemed, to her, to be a fate worse than death. Although her memory was already fading to where she could no longer remember what day, month or year it was, she remained steadfast enough to ensure that no one  ever  knew her real age.

And that brings me to a famous quote by the feminist icon, author and activist, Gloria Steinem who, upon turning the age of 40—50 years ago today—wittily responded to a reporter’s flattering comment of, “Oh, you don’t look 40,” with: “This is what 40 looks like. … We’ve been lying for so long, who would know?!” 

This is not the first time Gloria’s words served as antidotes to my mother’s way of thinking—or to so many of the ways women of her generation were taught to think.

So today, as Gloria Steinem herself turns 90, I will not flatter her with compliments about how she still doesn’t look her age or how considerate, clever and courageous she remains. What I’d like to do, instead, is celebrate her and the feminist movement she continues to devote her long life to, enabling me, and countless others of my generation to, as she once put it, “Live out the unlived lives of our mothers, because they were not able to become the unique people they were born to be.”

gloria steinem essays

But now I face a conundrum. When I recently told Gloria I wanted to write a book about her, she responded, in her usual modest and magnanimous way, that too much had already been written about her, encouraging me to write about other feminists instead. So, then, how do I write a birthday tribute to Gloria without it being all about her? Again, I found the antidote in another of her memorable quotes:

“Most writers write to say something about other people—and it doesn’t last. Good writers write to find out about themselves—and it lasts forever.”

Fortunately, my personal journey of self-knowledge has long included Gloria’s tenets—so I get to do both.

The first time I felt the freedom to connect with my true self was in 1973,  a year after  Ms.  debuted , when I was 13—an age beset by turmoil, chaos and confusion, a bridge between a young girl’s innocence and ensuing teenage angst. For girls who believed, behaved and dreamed differently from their similarly-age peers, that angst can readily turn into agony—as it did for me.

The traditional values of the ’60s and early ’70s placed girls in positions of complacency, whereby the preferred sport was Hopscotch (“don’t move more than one of your two feet, or you’ll lose”), the popular card game was Old Maid (“be careful not to be left with the Old Maid card, or you’ll end up unmarried and alone forever”), and the preferred attire was a knee-length dress (preferably adorned with patent leather Mary Janes that should, just like your legs, never show a scratch).

I failed miserably at all of these, preferring to catch footballs from far afield (which required the use of both my feet), collect baseball cards (which I secretly swiped from my older brother’s collection), and wear muddied baseball cleats (which I proudly donned both on and off the field). But no one—not one relative, classmate or neighbor—understood me.

“If we are alone for long, we come to feel uncertain or wrong,” Gloria once said. And it was that one word, “wrong,” that my parents cast upon me daily, just as one would a favorite family nickname.

Yes, words have power, but just as they can be used to harm, they can also be used to heal. 

In fact, it was through that inaugural issue of  Ms. , and in Gloria’s first article published within, that I first learned how to use writing to “find out about myself,” just as she did.

In “Sisterhood,” Gloria recounted how joining a circle of strong women in the feminist movement, enabled her to feel like she had experienced “a revelation … as if I had left a small dark room and walked into the sun.” Finding it both “contagious and irresistible,” she discovered that it is only through a sisterhood, whereby “women get together with other women that we’ll ever find out who we are,” and that, finally, she no longer “[feels] like I don’t exist … I am continually moved to discover I have sisters.” She then closed the article with, “I am beginning, just beginning, to find out who I am.” 

So now, a half century later, as reporters have switched from primarily commenting about Gloria’s youthful appearance to asking the venerable activist, “Who will you be passing your torch to?” Gloria continues to respond in a way that will help educate and empower others: “I’m not giving up my torch, but using it to light the torches of others, because if we each have a torch, there’s a lot more light.” 

And this is what 90 looks like, in the most enlightened way.

About the Author: Lori Sokol, PhD, is the Executive Director of Women’s eNews, and is currently writing her memoir.

gloria steinem essays

Lori Sokol, PhD. is Executive Director and Editor–in-Chief of Women’s eNews, an award-winning, non-profit digital news service that provides coverage of the most crucial issues impacting women and girls around the world. An award-winning journalist, her articles have been published in Newsweek, The Baltimore Sun, Slate.com, Ms. Magazine and in The Huffington Post. She has also been interviewed on a variety of news outlets including MSNBC, CNBC, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. Her most recent book, She Is Me: How Women Will Save The World , was the recipient of the IBPA’s Ben Franklin Award, and a finalist in the International Book Awards. She is currently writing her memoir.

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Glorian Steinem

Gloria Steinem, born on March 25, 1934, is an iconic figure in the feminist movement, known for her extensive work in journalism and activism. Steinem’s life has been marked by her relentless pursuit of gender equality and social justice, making her one of the most influential and enduring voices in the fight for women’s rights. This summary delves into the pivotal moments, challenges, and achievements that define Gloria Steinem’s extraordinary life and legacy.

Early Life and Education

The formative years of Gloria Steinem’s life were profoundly influenced by a unique and itinerant upbringing, shaped by her father’s profession as an antique dealer. This unconventional childhood, characterized by constant movement and change, played a pivotal role in nurturing a deep-seated sense of independence and adaptability within Steinem. As she traveled alongside her family, Steinem was exposed to a diverse array of environments and experiences, fostering a broadened worldview from a very young age.

Amidst these adventures, Steinem’s family faced their fair share of hardships, including financial instability. These difficulties were compounded by the emotional strain of her parents’ eventual separation and divorce. These early challenges, rather than daunting her, seemed to imbue Steinem with a profound sense of empathy and an acute awareness of the complexities of social issues. Such experiences laid the groundwork for her future endeavors as a staunch advocate for social justice.

Steinem’s educational journey, marked by its own set of challenges and triumphs, saw her attend Smith College. Here, in this intellectually stimulating environment, her innate passion for social issues was further ignited. Her time at Smith College was not just an academic pursuit; it was a period of profound personal growth and ideological development. Graduating magna cum laude in 1956, Steinem emerged not only with an exemplary academic record but also with a solidified commitment to addressing and rectifying societal imbalances.

Journalistic Beginnings

In 1963, Steinem undertook an audacious and risky assignment that would catapult her into the national spotlight. She went undercover to work as a Playboy Bunny at the New York Playboy Club. This daring investigative task required Steinem to immerse herself in the role, experiencing firsthand the conditions and treatment of women in an environment that epitomized the sexual objectification of the era. The assignment was not merely a job; it was a deep dive into a world that many saw from the outside but few understood from within.

The article that emerged from this experience was a revelation. It exposed the harsh realities and demeaning circumstances endured by the women working as Playboy Bunnies. Steinem’s vivid account brought to light the exploitation and sexism inherent in their employment, challenging the glamorous facade presented by the Playboy enterprise. This exposé was a stark illustration of the broader gender inequalities pervading society at the time.

The impact of Steinem’s article was profound. It not only earned her national recognition but also solidified her status as a serious journalist committed to uncovering and challenging gender-based injustices. This piece transcended mere reportage; it was a powerful statement against the objectification and mistreatment of women, signaling Steinem’s emergence as a key figure in the movement for gender equality.

Her work in ‘Show’ magazine thus marked a pivotal moment in Steinem’s career. It was a bold declaration of her journalistic integrity and her unwavering dedication to shedding light on social issues, particularly those affecting women. This assignment set the stage for Steinem’s subsequent endeavors in journalism and advocacy, establishing her as a fearless and influential voice in the fight against gender inequality.

Rise as a Feminist Leader

A milestone in Steinem’s journey was her involvement in the founding of ‘New York Magazine’ in 1968. Her role in this venture was not just as a co-founder but as a powerful voice within its pages. The magazine became a platform for her to reach a wider audience, allowing her to amplify her advocacy for women’s liberation and social justice. It provided a mainstream medium through which Steinem could articulate her vision and rally support for the feminist cause.

However, it was her seminal essay “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” that truly marked Steinem’s ascendance as a leading figure in the feminist movement. Published in 1969, this essay was a defining piece that resonated deeply with the ongoing struggle for gender equality. In it, Steinem skillfully drew parallels between the civil rights movement and the women’s movement, asserting the importance of gender equality in the broader context of social justice.

Steinem’s essay was both a reflection of and a response to the zeitgeist of the time. It eloquently captured the struggles, hopes, and aspirations of women across America, resonating with a wide range of readers. Her words not only articulated the experiences and challenges faced by women but also provided a rallying cry for change and action. This essay helped to propel the women’s liberation movement into the public consciousness and solidified Steinem’s role as a central figure in the fight for women’s rights.

During these formative years, Steinem’s voice became increasingly influential. Her activism, writings, and public speaking engagements were instrumental in shaping the discourse around feminism. She not only highlighted the inequalities faced by women but also advocated for tangible changes in policy and societal attitudes.

The late 1960s and early 1970s were thus pivotal in Gloria Steinem’s rise as a feminist leader. Her work during this period laid the foundation for her ongoing advocacy and cemented her status as one of the most influential voices in the fight for gender equality. Steinem’s emergence as a feminist leader during these transformative years was not just a personal triumph but a significant contribution to the broader movement for women’s rights.

Ms. Magazine and Mainstream Influence

1971 marked a pivotal year in the women’s movement and in Gloria Steinem’s career with the founding of ‘Ms. Magazine.’ This groundbreaking publication was more than just a magazine; it was a revolutionary platform that brought feminist voices and perspectives to the forefront of mainstream media. Co-founding ‘Ms. Magazine’ was a bold move by Steinem and her colleagues, signaling a new era in the public discourse on gender equality and women’s rights.

The inception of ‘Ms. Magazine’ was a response to the need for a dedicated space where issues affecting women could be discussed openly and seriously. Before its arrival, such topics were often sidelined or trivialized in mainstream media. The magazine quickly distinguished itself by offering in-depth analysis, insightful commentary, and a range of perspectives on a variety of topics related to women’s lives, rights, and roles in society.

‘Ms. Magazine’ was instrumental in shaping the national conversation about women’s rights. It became a conduit for discussing and disseminating feminist ideas, not only to those already engaged in the movement but also to a broader audience that may have been unfamiliar with or indifferent to issues of gender equality. The magazine’s content ranged from personal narratives and investigative reports to political analysis and cultural critiques, all centered around the theme of women’s liberation.

For Steinem, ‘Ms. Magazine’ provided a powerful tool to influence public opinion and policy on women’s issues. Through its pages, she was able to reach a wide and diverse readership, educating and inspiring both women and men. The magazine’s influence extended beyond its readership; it became a respected voice in media, often setting the agenda for public debate and informing legislative discussions.

Under Steinem’s guidance, ‘Ms. Magazine’ also challenged and changed the media landscape. It defied the conventional norms of women’s magazines of the time, which typically focused on fashion, beauty, and homemaking. Instead, it addressed serious and often controversial issues, such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, and workplace discrimination, bringing these critical discussions into the mainstream.

Political Activism and Advocacy

One of Steinem’s key political endeavors was her passionate advocacy for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ERA, a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution, was designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens, regardless of sex. Steinem’s involvement in promoting the ERA was crucial; she utilized her platform and influence to raise awareness and garner support for the amendment. Her efforts were instrumental in bringing the conversation about gender equality into the public and political spheres.

In addition to her work on the ERA, Steinem was actively involved in various political campaigns, particularly those related to women’s reproductive rights. She emerged as a strong advocate for women’s autonomy over their own bodies, championing the right to access safe and legal abortion, contraception, and comprehensive reproductive healthcare. This aspect of her activism was critical in a time when women’s reproductive rights were – and continue to be – a contentious issue in political discourse.

Steinem also took a firm stand against gender-based violence, a pervasive issue affecting women globally. Her advocacy in this area encompassed not only raising awareness but also actively supporting legislative and policy changes to protect women from domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse. Steinem’s voice in these matters added significant weight to the call for legal and social reforms.

Beyond the borders of the United States, Steinem’s activism had a global dimension. She extended her support and collaboration to feminist movements around the world, recognizing that the struggle for gender equality was a universal one. Her international efforts included working with women in various countries, sharing her experiences, and learning from theirs. This global perspective was crucial in highlighting the interconnectedness of women’s struggles across different cultures and societies.

Writing and Speaking

Steinem’s prowess as a writer is showcased in her various published works, notably in her bestsellers such as ‘My Life on the Road.’ In this memoir, as in her other writings, Steinem offers a candid and introspective look into her life. She shares her journey, weaving personal anecdotes with broader social and political themes. Her narrative style is compelling, inviting readers to not only understand her experiences but also to reflect on their own lives and the societal structures around them. Steinem’s writing is not just a recount of events; it’s a thoughtful examination of the societal currents that have shaped her life and the feminist movement.

Her books and articles go beyond mere storytelling; they serve as a vehicle for her advocacy. Through her writings, Steinem has continuously championed feminism and social justice, bringing light to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and systemic discrimination. Her work in print extends her influence, allowing her to reach a wider audience and to embed her ideas into the cultural and intellectual landscape.

In addition to her written work, Steinem’s role as a speaker has been equally significant in spreading her message. She possesses a remarkable ability to connect with her audience, whether speaking at a small gathering or addressing a large crowd. Her speeches are known for their clarity, wisdom, and motivational quality. Steinem has the talent to distill complex social issues into understandable and actionable messages, inspiring her listeners to think critically and engage actively in social change.

As a speaker, Steinem continues to mobilize people, sharing her insights on equality, activism, and the ongoing struggle for women’s rights. Her public engagements are not just lectures; they are interactive experiences where she encourages dialogue, challenges assumptions, and empowers her audience. Whether addressing young students or seasoned activists, her words resonate with a sense of urgency and hope.

Challenges and Personal Struggles

One of the primary challenges Steinem faced was the backlash and criticism from various quarters. Her outspoken advocacy for feminism and social justice positioned her at the forefront of cultural and political debates, making her a target for both conservative and radical groups. Conservatives often opposed her views on gender equality and reproductive rights, while some radical factions criticized her approaches within the feminist movement. These critiques ranged from dismissive skepticism to outright hostility, and navigating this landscape required resilience and determination.

In addition to the external challenges, Steinem grappled with personal struggles that tested her strength and resolve. Among the most significant of these was her battle with cancer. This personal health crisis was not only a physical battle but also an emotional and psychological one. Facing cancer brought a new perspective to Steinem’s life, underscoring the fragility of health and the value of resilience. Her experience with the disease was a profound journey that she navigated with the same grace and courage that she applied to her public endeavors.

Balancing her personal life with her role as a public figure was another enduring challenge for Steinem. The demands of being a prominent voice in the feminist movement, an author, and a speaker meant that her time and energy were constantly in high demand. Managing these responsibilities while maintaining personal relationships and self-care was a delicate act. This aspect of her life highlights the often-unseen struggles of public figures, especially those involved in activism and social change.

Despite these challenges, Steinem’s commitment to her cause remained unwavering. Instead of succumbing to the pressures and difficulties, she drew strength from them. These experiences enriched her understanding of struggle and resilience, further fueling her dedication to advocating for equality and justice. Her ability to persevere through adversity not only defined her character but also inspired countless others facing similar challenges.

Awards and Recognition

Among the most notable of these accolades is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to Steinem in 2013. This award is one of the highest civilian honors in the United States, recognizing individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of the country, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom was not just a personal honor for Steinem but also a recognition of the importance of the feminist movement and its role in shaping a more equitable society.

Beyond this prestigious award, Steinem’s accolades span a wide range of honors from various organizations and institutions, each acknowledging different aspects of her multifaceted career and contributions. These awards recognize her work as a journalist, her leadership in the feminist movement, her advocacy for women’s rights, and her efforts in promoting social justice.

The impact of these awards and recognitions goes beyond personal acknowledgment for Steinem. They serve as a validation of the causes she has championed and highlight the importance of continued advocacy for gender equality and social justice. Steinem’s receipt of these honors also serves to inspire others, demonstrating the power of steadfast commitment and perseverance in advocating for change.

Legacy and Ongoing Influence

Steinem’s legacy is rooted in her ability to bring feminist issues into the mainstream conversation, challenging societal norms and advocating for change. Her work in journalism, her role in founding ‘Ms. Magazine,’ her involvement in political advocacy, and her relentless activism have all contributed to significant shifts in attitudes towards women’s rights and gender equality. The tangible changes she helped effectuate in policy and public perception are a testament to her effectiveness as a leader and an advocate.

However, perhaps Steinem’s most lasting influence is seen in the individuals she has inspired. Through her writings, speeches, and personal engagements, Steinem has empowered generations of activists, thinkers, and leaders. She has been a role model and mentor, encouraging others to speak out and act against injustice. Her journey serves as a beacon, illustrating the power of conviction and the importance of persistent advocacy in effecting social change.

Steinem’s influence continues to be relevant in the ongoing struggle for women’s rights. Her life story, marked by resilience, courage, and unwavering commitment, resonates with current and future generations facing their own battles for equality and justice. Steinem’s legacy is not static; it evolves as new challenges emerge and new voices join the chorus for change.

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  • BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

6 Gloria Steinem Books That Will Inspire You

Through her writing, the feminist icon shares the wisdom she's gained from decades of activism.

gloria_steinem_books

As a leading figure in the second-wave feminist movement, Gloria Steinem is one of history’s most important activists and thinkers. But her ongoing fame and success—her 2015 memoir was a bestseller and is slated for an adaptation —hasn’t made her complacent either. In a world still plagued by injustice, Steinem remains at the front of the fight for equality, traveling around the globe to spark meaningful dialogue and positive change for women (and men!) everywhere.

Related: Gloria Steinem's Favorite Books, in Her Own Words  

The knowledge Steinem has gained from decades of activism can be found in her writing. Below, we break down the most essential Gloria Steinem books—from her memoirs to her essay collections—that examine life, gender politics, age (and even Marilyn Monroe) with the intelligence, warmth, and fearlessness that has made her one of the most beloved feminist icons ever.

Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

By Gloria Steinem

Steinem was a columnist and co-founder of Ms. magazine, a feminist periodical of the 1970s, before she made her first foray into the world of books. In 1983, she published Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions , which reaches back through decades to highlight a selection of Steinem’s most famous pieces of journalism. Her career-changing Playboy exposé is a highlight, in addition to an in-depth profile of the misunderstood Linda Lovelace and a groundbreaking report on female genital mutilation. An essay about her mentally ill mother—a rare glimpse into Steinem's private life—rounds out this “consciousness-raising” collection and perfect introduction to Steinem’s work ( The New York Times). 

Related: A Bunny's Tale: Gloria Steinem's Shocking Exposé That Challenged the Playboy Empire  

Marilyn

A major hit in the 1980s, Marilyn introduces readers to the woman behind the Hollywood starlet. Starting with an account of her childhood as “Norma Jeane,” Steinem chronicles Monroe’s rise to international fame—and all the difficulties that came with it—by drawing from an extensive private interview. Steinem approaches her subject with a keen sense of gender politics, exploring how Marilyn was the ultimate symbol of “femaleness” but also so much more. Featuring photographs by George Barris, the book is a humanizing portrait of the person who is so frequently lost in her own mythology.

Related: Portrait of an Icon: 8 Books About Marilyn Monroe  

Revolution from Within

Revolution from Within

In Revolution From Within , Steinem writes that self-esteem is an essential tool for existing in—and transforming—our sexist world. It’s a self-help book “that utterly transcends the genre,” providing a roadmap toward a sense of worth that's independent of outside pressures and biases ( Library Journal ). To that end, Steinem complements her pieces of advice with moving autobiographical tales, arguing that internal change is necessary for initiating change in the world around us.

Related: 11 Must-Read Feminist Books from the Past 100 Years  

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Moving Beyond Words

Moving Beyond Words

Moving Beyond Words is another collection of Steinem’s writings—some previously published and others, new. There are six pieces in all, and each ranges in topic and tone: In one notable entry, Steinem satirizes Freudian thought, imagining the famous neurologist as a woman. Another essay covers the plight of Russian feminists, while another offers Steinem’s personal thoughts on how “old age” has simply lit a more radical fire inside her.

Doing Sixty & Seventy

Doing Sixty & Seventy

Born in 1934, Steinem reached middle age, and onwards, in the public eye. It's something she has wholeheartedly embraced, and she has often spoken frankly about getting older—especially how it pertains to gender politics. Doing Sixty & Seventy is a prime example of that, as she tackles the wrongful “invisibility” of senior women, the joys of your twilight years, and much, much more. Age and worth, she tells readers, are not inversely related.

Related: 11 Books for Women Looking to Take 2020 by Storm  

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My Life on the Road

Much of Steinem’s work is autobiographical in nature, but she never wrote a true full-length memoir until 2015. Steinem finally tells her own story in My Life on the Road , which is as inspiring as it is eye-opening. Few stones are left unturned as she reflects on formative childhood experiences (she inherited her wanderlust from her father), major career milestones (the 1977 National Women’s Conference), and the transformative moments of her life as a traveling organizer (too many to count). Steinem repeatedly stresses the importance of listening to others—and trust us, with Steinem’s candor and wealth of fascinating anecdotes, you won't want to stop listening to her life story.

gloria_steinem_books

Keep Reading

20 Gloria Steinem Quotes That Light a Fire In Your Soul

8 Books That Pass the Bechdel Test    

Featured photo: Kindle edition of My Life on the Road

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Gloria Steinem in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on 6 February 2017.

Gloria Steinem on her Bill Clinton essay: 'I wouldn’t write the same thing now'

The feminist icon spoke to the Guardian about her 1998 op-ed, which drew criticism: ‘what you write in one decade you don’t necessarily write in the next’

Gloria Steinem would not mount the same vigorous defence of Bill Clinton today that she offered in a controversial 1998 article that downplayed accusations of harassment against the then president, the feminist icon has told the Guardian.

But Steinem said she did not regret writing the New York Times article in the first place.

“We have to believe women. I wouldn’t write the same thing now because there’s probably more known about other women now. I’m not sure,” she said on the red carpet of an annual comedy benefit for the Ms Foundation for Women, of which she is a founder.

“What you write in one decade you don’t necessarily write in the next. But I’m glad I wrote it in that decade.”

It was her first extended comment on the op-ed since it became fodder for a revitalized debate about the string of sexual misconduct claims against Clinton, and the political forces that helped him survive them.

“If all the sexual allegations now swirling around the White House turn out to be true, President Clinton may be a candidate for sex addiction therapy,” read Steinem’s 1998 essay, titled Feminists and the Clinton Question.

But, “even if the allegations are true, the President is not guilty of sexual harassment. He is accused of having made a gross, dumb and reckless pass,” she continued. “President Clinton took ‘no’ for an answer.”

Her words have come under scrutiny amid a national reckoning over sexual harassment and renewed questions about whether the multiple accusations should have doomed Clinton’s presidency.

At the time of her letter, former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones was suing Clinton for sexual harassment, and Kathleen Willey had just given an interview to 60 Minutes about Clinton making an unwanted sexual advance.

Clinton, Willey claimed, kissed her on the mouth during a private meeting to discuss job opportunities. She pushed back away from him, she claimed, and he touched her breasts and placed her hand on his erect penis.

The gravest allegation came one year later, when former campaign volunteer Juanita Broaddrick accused Clinton of rape. Clinton has always denied non-consensual sexual contact.

Steinem’s op-ed has been held up as a prime example of how Democrats and their allies reflexively rallied to Clinton’s defense, an argument made most forcefully by the writer Caitlin Flanagan in the Atlantic.

“It slut-shamed, victim-blamed and age-shamed; it urged compassion for and gratitude to the man the women accused,” Flanagan wrote . “The notorious 1998 New York Times op-ed by Gloria Steinem must surely stand as one of the most regretted public actions of her life.”

But if those regrets exist, they are not Steinem’s.

“I’m glad I wrote it at the time,” she said. “Because the danger then was we were about to lose sexual harassment law because it was being applied to extramarital sex, free will, extramarital sex, as with Monica Lewinsky .”

Clinton had an affair with Lewinsky but both agree it was consensual.

Steinem appears to have been referring to the bruising legal battle that began when Jones, a former Arkansas state clerk, sued Clinton, then the sitting president, for sexual harassment. Jones claimed Clinton in his role as Arkansas’s governor summoned her to his hotel room, where he touched her, tried to kiss her, dropped his pants and asked for oral sex.

A judge later dismissed Jones’s case , saying Clinton’s alleged behavior, while “boorish and offensive”, did not meet the legal definition of sexual harassment.

In her op-ed, Steinem was even more generous toward Clinton.

“Clinton seems to have made a clumsy sexual pass, then accepted rejection,” Steinem wrote, adding “there appears to be little evidence” of Jones suffering psychological damage.

Steinem’s thinking on Jones and her accusations seems unchanged today.

Asked if Jones’s accusation amounted to something other than a “free will” encounter, Steinem replied, “Paula Jones, in spite of all the pressures on her, said very clearly, ‘He said to me, I wouldn’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.’ That was part of her testimony.

“The problem at the time was, the sexual harassment law was in danger,” she said. “If Clinton had resigned, that would have endangered the law.”

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‘we’re meant to be active and contribute to the world’: celebrating gloria steinem on her 90th birthday.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Gloria Steinem attends the Women's March on Washington on January 21, ... [+] 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)

There is perhaps no one on the planet more synonymous with the word “feminist” than the iconic writer, activist and organizer Gloria Steinem, who celebrates her 90th birthday today. It’s fitting that Steinem’s birthday occurs during Women’s History Month, since her incredible life and career have encompassed so many trailblazing and historic moments, milestones and movements. Her list of accomplishments and accolades is enormous and ongoing, such as authoring several bestselling books, cofounding key organizations that have advanced equality and representation for women and girls—including Ms. magazine , the Ms. Foundation for Women , Women’s Media Center and the National Women's Political Caucus —and being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

I have had the treasured privilege of interviewing Steinem many times over the years, and although the wisdom she has offered is infinite, in honor of her birthday, I wanted to share a selection of her quotes on issues and beliefs that are important to her and which contain particularly resonant messages for our times.

A Trailblazer for Equality

Steinem is renowned for being a leading voice of the women’s liberation movement of the sixties and seventies. As President Barack Obama said when awarding her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, “Because of her work, across America and around the world, more women are afforded the respect and opportunities that they deserve.”

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Gloria Steinem is presented the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom by ... [+] President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House on November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)

Steinem has worked tirelessly throughout the decades, and continues today to use her voice, writing, platforms and influence toward achieving gender equality, as well as racial equality, LGBTQ+ equality and equal rights for all marginalized communities. She told me, “Progress is not automatic—that’s what movements are for. It depends on what we do every day.”

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Steinem has often pointed out how gender roles are restrictive for men as well as women and that all people should be able to embrace and express the full circle of human qualities, rather than labeling them as “masculine” or “feminine.” She said, “Change will come from girls and women and men who understand that for all of us to be human beings, instead of grouped by gender, is good for them too. Men can be included in feminist work in much the same way that white people can be included in anti-racist work once we realize that racism restricts us too. Once men realize that the gender roles are a prison for them too, then they become really valuable allies because they’re not just helping someone else, they’re freeing themselves. There is a full circle of human qualities we all have a right to.”

We Are Linked Not Ranked

One message of equality and interconnection that has deep meaning to Steinem is the idea that “we are linked, not ranked.” She explained it to me this way: “We’re on the cusp of something big, something that says we’re a circle, and not hierarchical. It’s the paradigm that was the paradigm of societies for most of human history, and still is of some, and that is the circle not the pyramid—that we are literally linked in a circle, including with nature, as well as with other human beings.”

“Viewing the world as linked not ranked is profoundly different from viewing it in a hierarchical way, which causes you to label everyone with their place in the hierarchy,” she said. “What we experience in our childhoods that comes to seem normal, or even inevitable, is that if you are placed in a hierarchy, you probably are immediately anxious about going further down and you’re striving to go further up, so your energies get placed into becoming ‘more than,’ or at least not becoming ‘less than,’ instead of becoming ‘part of.’”

The Importance of Community

“I hope readers will consider, especially in this age of the World Wide Web, that as miraculous as it is, we still need to be in the same room with all five senses if we are to empathize with each other,” Steinem once told me. “The most effective means we have is to talk to each other in groups. Human beings are communal creatures. If we’re by ourselves, we come to feel crazy and alone. We need to make alternate families of small groups of women who support each other, talk to each other regularly, can speak their truths and their experiences and find they’re not alone in them, that other women have them too. It makes such a huge difference. If I could have one structural wish for the women’s movement, it would be that we have a kind of Alcoholics Anonymous group structure all over the world, so that wherever you go in a different village or town, you can find the feminist equivalent of an AA group to go to once a week and to get some support and some help with seeing the politics of what’s happening to us.”

American feminist writer Gloria Steinem in her Manhattan apartment, New York City, March 1992. ... [+] (Photo by Michael Brennan/Getty Images)

Since 1968, Steinem’s brownstone apartment in New York City has been such a place: a hub where generations of activists and movement leaders have found community and met regularly to organize, collaborate, share ideas and collectively envision a better world. To preserve Steinem’s historic apartment and archive its contents both for historical knowledge and to foster future work, Gloria’s Foundation was established. “With the work of Gloria’s Foundation, the home can remain what it always has been: a birthplace for many organizations and limitless ideas, a home base for radical community care and compassion and a living organ of the feminist movement,” the foundation states.

Women in Media

Steinem’s trailblazing work as a journalist changed the landscape of women’s media and helped advance women’s representation. As a journalist in the sixties, when newsrooms and media outlets were largely run by men—and most magazines marketed to women were limited to advice on beauty, housekeeping, fashion, finding a husband or being a good wife and mother—Steinem realized there was a need for a women-run publication that addressed feminist issues.

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 22: Gloria Steinem, feminist leader and founder of "Ms." magazine, at her ... [+] desk. (Photo by Mel Finkelstein/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

In 1972, she cofounded Ms. magazine , which remains one of the most trusted sources for feminist news and information. “I’ve always been a freelance writer or a reporter, so I’ve always been concerned with media,” Steinem told me. “That’s why we started Ms. magazine—to have at least one national publication that women controlled.” As Ms. magazine puts it, “Since its earliest days, Ms. has been a brazen act of independence, demonstrating the untapped potential for journalism that centers news and analysis on women and their lives.”

In 2005, recognizing that our culture at large, and media in particular, did not sufficiently amplify the voices, stories and experiences of women and girls, Steinem cofounded Women’s Media Center with Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan, which raises the visibility, viability and decision-making power of women and girls in media and ensures that their stories get told. As Steinem put it to me, “The Women’s Media Center is an effort to make the existing media more accurate and more complete.”

“The media is where we get our ideas of what is normal, what is okay, what is possible for us, what we can become,” Steinem once explained to me. “For all the time that human beings have been on Earth, we have been sitting around a campfire telling our stories. And if one person could not tell their story, people didn’t learn from them and the circle was incomplete. The media is our campfire. A whole set of possibilities, problems, dreams and realities are just not present unless we are equally represented in the media.”

Political Engagement

As a passionate advocate for social change, gender and racial equality, the environment and other progressive issues, Steinem has been a longtime political activist, often supporting and campaigning for political candidates. In 1971, she co-founded the National Women's Political Caucus , a group that continues to work to advance the numbers of pro-equality women in elected and appointed office at a national and state level.

Steinem has always encouraged people to be civically engaged and to participate in creating the world they want, including making their voices heard on issues they care about, supporting political candidates that represent their values and voting. “If you don’t stand up for yourself politically, no one else will,” she told me. “The voting booth is still the only place that a pauper equals a billionaire, and any woman equals any man. If we organized well from the bottom up—and didn’t fall for the idea that our vote doesn’t count; an idea nurtured by those who don’t want us to use it—we could elect feminists, women of all races and some diverse men, too, who actually represent the female half of the country equally. It’s up to us.”

On the Road as an Organizer

Gloria Steinem's book My Life on the Road

As a feminist organizer and activist, Steinem has spent much of her time traveling across the country and around the world speaking, meeting people along the way and listening to their stories—something she loves and says brings her energy and hope. Steinem once told me, “The single thing I’ve done more than anything else is to go out on the road and speak and be an organizer. It’s very satisfying. There’s no substitute for it—even the Internet can’t substitute for people being in the room together. It's endlessly interesting to be organizing and hearing possible solutions or thinking of possible solutions and how to put efforts together.” She wrote about her many journeys and experiences in her bestselling book My Life on the Road .

When I interviewed her after her book tour, she shared, “Because I’ve just been traveling much more than usual, I’ve had an intense dose of just listening to the general public, so I got an explosion of consciousness. It comes out of both anger and despair and hope and accomplishment, but it's there. It’s consciousness. It’s incredible. I’m quite stunned by it. The consciousness is incredibly high because of Black Lives Matter and anger about election financing and global warming—and none of these problems can be solved without the female half of the population, and obviously seeing it that way creates new solutions.”

Continuing Gloria’s Legacy

My hope is that we celebrate Gloria Steinem by taking inspiration from her extraordinary life of activism and following her incredible example—advocating for the causes we believe in, being our full selves, creating positive change in our own lives and communities, and joining together to build a more equal and just world.

“Change is like a house,” Steinem said. “You can’t build it from the top down, only from the bottom up. Whatever small change we make will be like a pebble in a pond; it will reverberate outward, and it will also be fun. We’re meant to be active and contribute to the world. What’s the alternative? Just sitting there and wondering, ‘Oh, if I had just done this, maybe...’ I’ve learned only one thing: no matter how hard it is to do it, it’s harder not to do it. Then you’re stuck with wondering, ‘What if I had said...? What if I had done...?’”

And if we ever find ourselves in need of courage, Steinem offers this powerful advice: “Being brave is not being unafraid but feeling the fear and doing it anyway. When you feel fear, try using it as a signal that something really important is about to happen.”

To learn more about Gloria Steinem and her work and organizations, visit GloriaSteinem.com .

For more information or to donate to her foundation, visit Gloria's Foundation.

Marianne Schnall

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COMMENTS

  1. 10 Gloria Steinem Books and Essays

    1. "The Moral Disarmament of Betty Coed" (1962): Esquire published this essay from Gloria about college students and their views on sexuality, with a special focus on contraception. One year later, author Betty Friedan touched on many of the same themes in her book The Feminine Mystique (1963). 2. "After Black Power, Women's Liberation ...

  2. Written Works

    Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and inspiring leader—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of her life as a traveler, a listener, and a catalyst for change. ... Gloria Steinem and Ruchira Gupta bring together a selection of groundbreaking essays by Gloria which, since the time they were first written ...

  3. Gloria Steinem Reflects on Women's Liberation 50 Years Later

    Gloria Steinem on Aug. 27, 1970. Jerry Engel—The New York Post/Getty Images. I n the half-century since I wrote the essay below, as part of a cover story on "The Politics of Sex," there has ...

  4. Gloria Steinem

    Gloria Steinem (born March 25, 1934, Toledo, Ohio, U.S.) is an American feminist, political activist, and editor who was an articulate advocate of the women's liberation movement during the late 20th and early 21st centuries.. Steinem spent her early years traveling with her parents in a house trailer. After their divorce in 1946, Gloria settled with her mother in Toledo, Ohio, and for the ...

  5. Gloria Steinem

    From her humble Ohio childhood, Gloria Steinem grew up to become an acclaimed journalist, trailblazing feminist, and one of the most visible, passionate leaders and spokeswomen of the women's rights movement in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Steinem was born on March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio, the second child and daughter of Leo and ...

  6. Opinion

    Gloria Steinem is an author and political activist and a co-founder of Ms. Alice Walker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, was an early Ms. editor and contributor. Cover images courtesy of Gloria ...

  7. Passion, Politics, and Everyday Activism: Collected Essays

    Passion, Politics, and Everyday Activism. : Gloria Steinem. Open Road Media, May 16, 2017 - Social Science - 3078 pages. Three New York Times-bestselling essay collections spanning the pioneering career of a legendary voice in the American feminist movement. Gloria Steinem has been a fierce and unapologetic advocate for women around the globe.

  8. Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

    An updated, third edition of the renowned feminist's most diverse and timeless collection of essays, with a new foreword by Emma Watson. Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions has sold over half a million copies since its original publication in 1983, acclaimed for its witty, warm, and life-changing view of the world, "as if women mattered." ." Steinem's truly personal writing is here, from ...

  9. Gloria Steinem on the trailblazing magazine 'for women in all ...

    In 1972, pioneering feminist, journalist and activist Gloria Steinem - who turns 90 today - co-founded Ms Magazine, putting conversations about gender equality, reproductive rights and social ...

  10. Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

    Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions--a phenomenal success that sold nearly half a million copies since its original publication in 1983--is Gloria Steinem's most diverse and timeless collection of essays. Both male and female readers have acclaimed it as a witty, warm, and life-changing view of the world--"as if women mattered." Steinem's truly personal writing is here, from the humorous ...

  11. An Icon at 90: Gloria Steinem's Enduring Quest for Equality

    7. Underlining the link between patriarchal norms and self-esteem. In addition to educating the public through essays and articles, Gloria wrote several bestselling books, including 'Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem' and 'Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellion.'. Revolution from Within, published in 1992, highlighted the need for internal and external change and how ...

  12. Gloria Steinem

    Social activist, writer, editor and lecturer Gloria Steinem was born in Ohio in 1934. ... Steinem overcame the disease and continued to write influential books and essays. Despite her longtime ...

  13. Gloria Steinem: Biography, Writer, Editor, Activist, Movie & Life

    She helped create both New York and Ms. magazines, helped form the National Women's Political Caucus, and is the author of many books and essays. Quick Facts. FULL NAME: Gloria Marie Steinem BORN ...

  14. On Her 90th Birthday, Revisiting Gloria Steinem in New York

    Gloria Steinem turns 90 today. To most of the world, of course, she is a defining public face of feminism, but we at New York also think of her as one of our own. Starting in the early 1960s, when she was a few years out of Smith College, she began writing steadily for Clay Felker, then an editor at Esquire.He published her first big story, about women and contraception.

  15. 50 Years Ago, Gloria Steinem Wrote an Essay for TIME About Her Hopes

    Gloria Steinem wrote an essay equality for TIME 50 years ago. She reflects on how far we've come since — and how far we still have to go. ... *Gloria Steinem in 2020: The relationship between violence against females and all violence other than self-defense should inform our foreign policy. This article is part of 100 Women of the Year, ...

  16. Gloria Steinem

    Gloria Marie Steinem (/ ˈ s t aɪ n əm / STY-nəm; born March 25, 1934) is an American journalist and social-political activist who emerged as a nationally recognized leader of second-wave feminism in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s.. Steinem was a columnist for New York magazine and a co-founder of Ms. magazine. In 1969, Steinem published an article, "After Black Power ...

  17. Gloria Steinem

    As If Women Matter: The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader by Gloria Steinem (2014). Steinem publishes another collection of thought-provoking essays, this time purely focused on feminism. The essays stem from her experiences in India and other developing countries, to her activism in the United States.

  18. Activist Gloria Steinem reflects on abortion rights as they hang ...

    KELLY: Gloria Steinem - Steinem has been an activist for abortion rights and feminism for decades. But before she became a feminist icon, she was a 22-year-old living in England, pregnant when she ...

  19. What Does 90 Look Like?Just Ask Gloria Steinem

    This essay originally appeared in Ms. Magazine. Gloria Steinem at the Global Citizen NOW Summit at Spring Studios on May 23, 2022, in New York City. (Rob Kim / Getty Images) ... Lori Sokol and Gloria Steinem. (Courtesy) But now I face a conundrum. When I recently told Gloria I wanted to write a book about her, she responded, in her usual modest ...

  20. Gloria Steinem: 'Valuing Women's Work'

    The following has been excerpted with permission from the essay "Revaluing Economics" in Gloria Steinem's 1994 book Moving Beyond Words. Labor costs didn't always reflect the country's ...

  21. 'Hope Is Practical and Necessary': Gloria Steinem on ...

    On March 25, the award-winning activist, organizer, and journalist Gloria Steinem celebrated her 90th birthday—a milestone, ... I have a book of essays overdue, so I hope to finish that.

  22. Glorian Steinem

    Gloria Steinem, born on March 25, 1934, is an iconic figure in the feminist movement, known for her extensive work in journalism and activism. ... However, it was her seminal essay "After Black Power, Women's Liberation" that truly marked Steinem's ascendance as a leading figure in the feminist movement. Published in 1969, this essay ...

  23. 6 Gloria Steinem Books That Will Inspire You

    Steinem was a columnist and co-founder of Ms. magazine, a feminist periodical of the 1970s, before she made her first foray into the world of books.In 1983, she published Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, which reaches back through decades to highlight a selection of Steinem's most famous pieces of journalism.Her career-changing Playboy exposé is a highlight, in addition to an in ...

  24. Moving Beyond Words by Gloria Steinem

    Gloria Steinem. A collection of essays by an influential feminist examines the state of the women's movement today and offers possibilities for the future, focusing on such issues as economic empowerment, women politicians, and life affirmations. 296 pages, Hardcover. First published January 1, 1993.

  25. Gloria Steinem on her Bill Clinton essay: 'I wouldn't write the same

    Gloria Steinem in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on 6 February 2017. ... President Clinton may be a candidate for sex addiction therapy," read Steinem's 1998 essay, titled Feminists and the ...

  26. Gloria Steinem Essays

    Gloria Steinem Women's Rights Movement 792 Words | 4 Pages. A political activist and feminist organizer, Gloria Steinem has and continues to overcome controversial issues concerning women in politics, women in the workforce, and women at home by speaking out through speech, articles, essays making her a household name that will be remembered for her achievements that changed society and lead ...

  27. Legendary feminist Gloria Steinem turns 90

    From the Amanpour Archive, Christiane's 2015 interview with Gloria Steinem, whose tireless advocacy and undercover journalism made her a global icon.

  28. What Does 90 Look Like? Just Ask Gloria Steinem

    Today, as Gloria Steinem, herself, turns 90, I will not flatter her with compliments about how she still doesn't look her age, or how considerate, clever and courageous she remains. What I'd like to do, instead, is celebrate her and the feminist movement she continues to devote her long life to, enabling me, and countless others of my generation to, as she once put it, "Live out the ...

  29. Gloria Steinem: Political Activist and Feminist Leader Essay

    In Praise of Women's Bodies is Steinem's key work on women's bodily autonomy and abortion rights. She writes: "childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one" (Steinem, In Praise of Women's Bodies 68). She uses strong comparisons and makes strong arguments on the value and ...

  30. Celebrating Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem On Her 90th Birthday

    In honor of feminist icon Gloria Steinem's 90th birthday, I share wisdom from our interviews over the years, highlighting her key accomplishments and timeless messages.