Gloria Steinem: Quotes & Fast Fact

Gloria Steinem is a feminist, activist, and writer. Her life’s work has been pivotal in advancing women’s rights. With International Women’s Day upon us, it’s the perfect time to take a closer look at the badass feminists who have worked hard throughout history to stoke the fires of the fight for women’s rights and helped to win hard-fought battles. Now, perhaps more than ever before, we need to look to historical figures like Gloria Steinem, as BIPOC people, women, LGBTQ+ people, and especially our trans and non-binary friends and family members face heightened levels of discrimination and hate. The following is a summary of Gloria Steinem’s biography and accomplishments accompanied by her powerful words and Gloria Steinem quotes. Happy International Women’s Day!

A Biography: 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.

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.

12 Gloria Steinem Quotes

I’m a sucker for inspirational quotes by women, and Ms. Steinem has had plenty to say over the years worth noting. The following are some of my favorite Gloria Steinem Quotes.

  1. “Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” -Gloria Steinem
  2. “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” -GS
  3. “A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.” -GS
  4. “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” -GS
  5. ‪”So, whatever you want to do, just do it…Making a damn fool of yourself is absolutely essential.” -GS
  6. ‪”Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one.” -GS
  7. “We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.” -GS
  8. ‪”The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” -Gloria Steinem
  9. “A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.” -GS
  10. Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. -GS
  11. Channeling dissatisfaction into action is transformative. -GS
  12. Crucial realizations can be found in basic logic. -GS
  13. “Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
  14. “Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke … She will need her sisterhood.”
  15. “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons … but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”
  16. “Men should think twice before making widowhood women’s only path to power.”‬
  17. “Like art, revolutions come from combining what exists into what has never existed before.”
  18. “Once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect.”
  19. “Don’t think about making women fit the world‬—‪think about making the world fit women.”‬
  20. “So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?…Street guys would invent slang (“He’s a three-pad man”) and “give fives” on the corner with some exchange like, “Man you lookin’ good!” “Yeah, man, I’m on the rag!”


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