Gloria Steinem is a writer and a feminist leader. Gloria was born on March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio. Gloria did not go to school until she was ten. Her mother, Ruth, taught her at home. He father, Leo, left the family in 1944 and her older sister Susan went off to Smith College in Massachusetts. Gloria's mom suffered from depression and Gloria had to take care of her. It was a rough childhood. Gloria's only escape was in books, movies, and her tap dancing. She loved Shirley Temple movies and hoped to one day be a Rockette at Radio City Hall. Her dad came home to care for Ruth and Gloria moved to Washington, D.C. to live with her sister. She did so well in school that she was accepted at Smith College, too. Smith is a great women's college in Massachusetts. It was a whole new life for Gloria. She majored in government and did a lot of writing. While she was in college she learned the reason for her mother's depression. Her mom had been a newspaper writer before she had children. She was forced to leave her job when she got pregnant. That is what caused her depression. It helped Gloria to understand her mother's illness. At graduation in 1956, she was engaged but broke the engagement and then found out she was pregnant. She had won a fellowship to study in India for two years and did not want to make the same mistake her mother had, so she decided to have an abortion. Gloria was very sad, but she knew it was the right thing for her. It was fifteen years later before she could talked about it to anyone. When she returned to the U.S. from India she was unable to find a writing position because she was a woman. She ended up freelancing for Esquire and Glamour magazines. She wrote for TV too. She went undercover as a Playboy Bunny to write about sexual harassment but no one took her article seriously. She then took a job as editor of New York Magazine. She got to cover the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other important events of the 1960s. She went on to work for equal rights for all women, of all races. She was the first woman to have her own magazine. In January of 1972 she and Dorothy Pitman Hughes started Ms. Magazine. It was written by women, for women, and about women. Gloria was named Woman of the Year in 1972 by McCall's Magazine. She also founded Ms. Foundation for Women, National Women's Political Caucus, Coalition of Labor Union Women, and Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Ms. Steinem has founded more organizations and won more awards and honors than we could ever list. In 1993, Gloria Steinem was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY.
Gloria has authored many books including, The Beach Book, Feminist Family Values, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Marilyn: Norma Jean, Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, and Moving Beyond Words.
Gloria Steinem is an amazing woman who changed the lives of many young women who followed her. She lives in New York City and continues to write and lecture.
Image courtesy of http://feminist.org/welcome/
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by AJ & Nick G., fourth grade, 2005