Everything To Know About Journalist And Political Activist, Gloria Steinem

Over the past few years, women's rights movements have seemingly gained more attention. Much of this is due to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, debates surrounding paid maternity leave, and shifts in ideas about gender as a whole. However, the fight for women's rights far predates these recent discourses. At the forefront of activism for decades has been journalist Gloria Steinem.

Steinem rose to prominence in journalism at a time when it was definitely a man's world. Women rarely got to be at the helm of hard-hitting stories during the 1950s and 1960s. During her tenure at The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Steinem wanted to work on political stories. Editors euphemistically denied her. Though the Ohio native went undercover for Show magazine to reveal the low wages of Playboy bunnies at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club in 1963, she still struggled to gain momentum in journalism. Therefore, she began opening her own doors.

Gloria Steinem co-founded Ms. Magazine

In 1968, Gloria Steinem co-founded New York Magazine and finally became a political writer and editor. Just one year later, she published a story on women speaking about abortion in New York City. In an Instagram post of the New York issue in which she first published the story, she called the experience "a turning point in [her] consciousness." She went on to found Ms. magazine with Patricia Carbine in 1972, an entire publication written by women for women. In 1987, she told NPR that Ms. came from the fact that most publications sparsely wanted to discuss feminism, and the media as a whole treated feminist stories with "ridicule" in the 1960s and early 1960s.

Around the time that Steinem created Ms. magazine, she also teamed up with female leaders like Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Native American activist LaDonna Harris, and former committee chairs from both the Democratic and Republican parties to form the National Women's Political Caucus. This organization continues to voice its political candidate endorsements and has chapters in nearly a dozen U.S. states with more on the way.

The activist appeared in an episode of 'And Just Like That'

In the 1990s, Gloria Steinem helped popularize "Take Our Daughters to Work Day." Marie C. Wilson of the Ms. Foundation for Women (a foundation that Steinem co-founded) first had the idea for a day to help young girls feel less fearful of big business. Steinem brought up the idea to Parade magazine after speaking with Wilson. The annual day is now called "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" and takes place every April (per Time).

Over the course of Steinem's career as a journalist and activist, she has written books on activism and empowerment. However, she also wrote "Marilyn: Norma Jeane," a biography of Marilyn Monroe that focused on the icon's internal battles and intelligence rather than outside appearance. After all, there is an intersection between women's experiences and popular culture. Steinem again revealed this intersection when she played herself in an episode of HBO's "Sex and the City" reboot "And Just Like That." As a fellow woman in journalism, the show's main character Carrie Bradshaw is a Steinem fan and got a chance to speak to the activist in the episode.

She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013

Gloria Steinem's personal life perhaps contributed to her tenacity. She spent part of her adolescence taking care of her mother who often "couldn't look after herself," as she explained to The Guardian. Her sister eventually took over as caregiver, allowing for Steinem to attend Smith College in Massachusetts. In 2000, she married environmentalist and animal rights activist David Bale, the father of actor Christian Bale. He sadly passed away from lymphoma in 2003. Her decision not to get married until later in life was due to the nature of marriage laws in the 20th century. "The laws were terrible. You gave up all your civil rights (to sole property ownership and credit). It wouldn't have been personally right," she told The Ledger.

Steinem has been revered for her work in women's rights. In 2013, President Barack Obama presented Gloria Steinem with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that a U.S. civilian can receive. The National Civil Rights Museum gave her the Freedom Award in 2019. These are among countless other awards and recognitions that Steinem has received in her decades-long career.