National Women’s History Month: Gloria Steinem 101

Gloria Steinem: Fast Fact & Inspirational Quotes

Chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve heard of Gloria Steinem. You likely know that she’s a feminist, activist, and a writer—but how much deeper does your knowledge of this shero go?  As part of our National Women’s History Month celebration, we are going to explore who Gloria Steinem was and is—and share some of her most popular inspirational quotes.

Getting to know Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem was born in Toledo, Ohia in 1934. She helped create New York Magazine in the late 1960s and wrote a political column, which was unusual for a woman at the time. She began championing women’s rights while working for the publication and eventually earned her status as a feminist icon as a writer, editor and one of the founders of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Her involvement in taking the lead on launching the pioneering feminist publication Ms. magazine is likely one of the things she is best known for. With Steinem at the helm, Ms. Covered topics like domestic violence and abortion.

Gloria Steinem’s contributions are vast, and the following are some lesser known facts about her life and work that deserve attention for National Women’s History Month.

Gloria Steinem
photo via Gloria Steinem fb

10 Facts about Gloria Steinem

  1. Gloria Steinem attended school sporadically during her early years: As a young girl, her living situation required bouncing from Michigan to Florida and California. As a result, Gloria Steinem didn’t attend school regularly until she was 11.
  2. Steinem was a caregiver for many years: Around the age of 11, Gloria Steinem’s parents divorced. She spent the next six years living in poor conditions in Toledo while caring for her mother who was mentally ill.
  3. She is a breast cancer survivor: In 1986, Steinem was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat it with the treatments that were available at the time and went on to continue her work as an activist.
  4. Steinem wasn’t the first feminist in her family: Her grandmother Pauline Perlmutter Steinem was the president of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association.
  5. Gloria Steinem wrote a book about Marilyn Monroe: Steinem explored the woman behind the myth in her book Marilyn: Norma Jeane.
  6. You can thank Steinem for Take Our Daughters to Work Day: The holiday that earned parents an opportunity to bring their daughters to work where they have the opportunity to envision their futures as part of a workforce was founded in 1993 by Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation for Women.
  7. Steinem took heat for promoting self-development: In 1992 Gloria Steinem published a book called Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem. She was instantly criticized for it being a sign that she was going soft and backing away from activism. As you can imagine, she firmly disagreed and in an interview with People magazine Steinem cleared things up when she stated, “We need to be long-distance runners to make a real social revolution. And you can’t be a long-distance runner unless you have some inner strength.”
  8. Gloria Steinem was fervently against marriage, but…: She famously stated, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” But apparently, sometimes a fish wants its chance at feeling the wind rush through its scales while pedaling a two-wheeled vehicle because at the age of 66 Steinem wed David Bale and environmental and animal rights activist. He died about three years later.
  9. Hello Hall of Fame: In 1993, Gloria Steinem was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
  10. Gloria Steinem received an award from President Obama: In 2019 Gloria Steinem was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Gloria Steinem
photo via Gloria Steinem fb

12 Gloria Steinem Quotes

“Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” -Gloria Steinem

“A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” -Gloria Steinem

“A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.” -Gloria Steinem

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” -Gloria Steinem

‪”So, whatever you want to do, just do it…Making a damn fool of yourself is absolutely essential.” -Gloria Steinem

‪”Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one.” -Gloria Steinem

“We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.” -Gloria Steinem

‪”The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” -Gloria Steinem

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.” -Gloria Steinem

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. -Gloria Steinem

Channeling dissatisfaction into action is transformative. -Gloria Steinem

Crucial realizations can be found in basic logic. -Gloria Steinem


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