Woman Making History #78: Gloria Steinem


steinem.jpgI keep meaning to do these and forget. Have to get back on track with them.

Gloria Steinem has one of the most, if not the most, famous name and face in American feminism. She's been on the radar for a long time, and in a big way, and even if she were not notable for anything else, she'd be notable for that. But that's hardly all she's done.

Steinem was born in Ohio in 1934. Ten years later, her parents split up and Steinem lived with her mother, who was mentally ill. Steinem was forced to take a lot of responsibility quite young, in terms of caring for herself and her mother and helping to support her family.

In 1952, Steinem went to Smith College. She did well and graduated four years later with a degree in government studies. She then traveled in India before returning to the U.S. to find a job in journalism. In 1960, she became the assistant editor of Help! magazine. She also worked as a freelance journalist. In 1963, she quit help to freelance full-time. She achieved some notoriety with a controversial article about time spend "undercover" as a "bunny" cocktail waitress in the New York Playboy club. After spending some time doing celebrity interviews, Steinem covered George McGovern's run for president. This coverage won her a permanent position at New York magazine.

While covering an abortion hearing for New York, Steinem began to think seriously about feminism. As the United States' women's movement heated up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Steinem became increasingly active. Because of her high profile as a celebrity and political journalist, she was an easy candidate to be the burgeoning movement's media spokeswoman. In 1971, she co-founded the Women's Political Caucus, and in 1972 she helped to start Ms. magazine, for which she served as editor for several years. In 1974, she co-founded the Coalition of Labor Women. In 1993, she was appointed into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Steinem published several books, including Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions and Revolution from Within. She has remained very active in feminist politics, traveling and speaking extensively. She also serves as a contributing editor to the revitalized Ms. magazine.

Steinem has struggled with several health problems, including breast cancer. In 2000, at the age of 66, Steinem married for the first time. Her husband died only three years after their marriage.

CBS News
National Women's Hall of Fame

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