This is part of the #WomenWhoLead campaign! During Women’s History Month LiveYourDream.org is featuring powerful women who are making a difference in their fields, inspiring the next generation, and changing the world for the better. These fierce feminist icons advocate for gender equality, challenge sexism, fight the patriarchy, and empower women everywhere to live their dreams.
Who is Gloria Steinem?
You have no doubt heard the name Gloria Steinem in association with feminist movements such as the Women’s March and Time’s Up. She was one of the most visible and effective leaders of the feminist movement in the 60’s and continues to fight for equality and social justice to this day.
But in addition to being a speaker, activist, and feminist organizer, Gloria Steinem began her career as a journalist.
After spending years pushing to write social and political pieces but struggling to be taken seriously by editors, she co-founded New York Magazine and the feminist publication Ms. Magazine where she continues to serve as a consulting editor.
Her work as a writer has earned her numerous prestigious journalism awards.
Spokesperson for Women’s Rights
Since the 60’s, Steinem has been leading activists and fighting for women’s liberation. Her articles and essays earned her national recognition as a feminist, prompting her testimony in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1970.
Over the years, she helped and co-founded a number of organizations that support women and equality, including the Women’s Action Alliance, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Women’s Media Center, and Equality Now. But her fight for justice extends beyond women’s rights. She was arrested for protesting against the South African apartheid, publicly opposed incursion into the Middle East during the Gulf War, and was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative.
She has also produced an HBO documentary on child abuse, a Lifetime feature film on the death penalty, and a VICELAND series of documentaries on the violence against women in different countries. For her decades of work fighting for equality and justice, in 2013, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Her Influence on Feminism
Through her writing and activism, Steinem has helped push the women’s movement forward. She recognized the need for inclusivity, expanding the movement to celebrate indigenous peoples and all socioeconomic backgrounds.
By creating Ms. Magazine, which went far beyond the typical man-pleasing and housekeeping topics written about in common women’s magazines, she proved that women have ambitions beyond being a wife and mother. This publication led the way for others focusing on the real issues that women care about.
She also touched the lives of young women and girls as the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a fund that supports projects of empowerment. Through this organization, she started the nationally recognized Take our Daughters to Work Day to give young girls the chance to learn about career opportunities. This day devoted to girls is now recognized internationally.
Steinem’s influence as a prominent feminist has helped shape the current fight for equality. Through her devotion and unapologetic attitude, she has inspired countless others to stand up for what they believe in.
Ashleen Knutsen is a science writer and editor in Los Angeles. After a decade of experience in engineering and research, she decided to pursue a career in science communications to not only spark women and girls’ interest in STEM, but to let them know that they too can change the world.