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Women’s History Month: Gloria Steinem

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Women’s rights have long been contested and challenged. For centuries, women have fought and protested for equal rights. American journalist Gloria Steinem is no stranger to the fight for equality.

Gloria Steinem was born on March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio. When Steinem was young, her parents divorced, and she was left to take care of her mother who suffered from various mental illnesses.

After taking care of her mother for six years, Steinem decided to go to college at Smith College in Massachusetts, where she studied government. This path was not a traditional choice for women at the time, with others choosing motherhood and marriage; however, those roles did not suit Steinem, and she quickly forged her own path.

In 1956, after completing her degree, Steinem had the opportunity to study in India. There, according to History.com, she worked as a freelance writer and had some of her most famous pieces published at this time, such as her 1963 expose on New York City’s Playboy Club that was published in Show magazine.

In the late 1960s, Steinem started the politics column for New York magazine. This allowed her to become more outspoken about her political beliefs and have a voice in the Women’s Rights Movement.

As a result of her newfound voice, she and other outspoken feminist activists such as Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, and Shirley Chisholm formed the National Women’s Political Caucus, which aimed to elect more women into political office on both local and national levels. Steinem also founded Ms magazine that highlighted important issues facing women at the time, including domestic violence. This became the first national publication to feature the subject on its cover in 1976, according to History.com.

In 1986, Steinem was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fortunately was able to treat the cancer in time. That same year, Steinem published a biography about actress Marilyn Monroe and became the consulting editor at Ms magazine.

In 2000, Steinem married David Bale, who was an environmental and animal rights activist and the father of actor Christian Bale, whom Steinem has a close relationship with.

I am honored to write about Gloria Steinem because she was one of the activists who defined the Women’s Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. She is one of my biggest role models likely because of her unwillingness to conform and her spunk even well into her eighties. She has made great strides in everyday life for women, and I am thankful to her for that. She and her work have made it seem possible for me to pursue anything I want and be successful.

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