Position: Founder of Ms. Magazine and Ms. Foundation, co-founder of the Women's Media Center
Hometown: Toledo, OH
Education: Smith College
Lifetime movie: Producer of "Better Off Dead"
Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor and feminist activist. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice.
In 1972 she co-founded Ms. magazine and remained one of its editors for 15 years. She continues to serve as a consulting editor for Ms. and was instrumental in the magazine's recent move to join and be published by the Feminist Majority Foundation. In 1968 she helped found New York magazine, where she was a political columnist and wrote feature articles. As a freelance writer, she was published in Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, and women's magazines as well as for publications in other countries. She has produced a documentary on child abuse for HBO, a feature film about the death penalty for Lifetime and been the subject of profiles on Lifetime and Showtime.
Her books include the bestsellers "Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem," "Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions," "Moving Beyond Words" and "Marilyn: Norma Jean," on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Her writing also appears in many anthologies and textbooks, and she was an editor of Houghton Mifflin's "The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History."
Ms. Steinem helped found the Women's Action Alliance, a pioneering national information center that specialized in nonsexist, multiracial children's education, and the National Women's Political Caucus, a group that continues to work to advance the numbers of pro-equality women in elected and appointed office at a national and state level. She was president and co-founder of Voters for Choice, a pro-choice political action committee for 25 years, then with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund when it merged with VFC for the 2004 elections. She was also co-founder and serves on the board of Choice USA, a national organization that supports young pro-choice leadership and works to preserve comprehensive sex education in schools. She was the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a national multi-racial, multi-issue fund that supports grassroots projects to empower women and girls, and also was a founder of its Take Our Daughters to Work Day, the first national day devoted to girls that has now become an institution here and in other countries. Now she is working with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College on a project to document the grassroots origins of the U.S. women's movement.
As a writer, Ms. Steinem has received the Penney-Missouri Journalism Award, the Front Page and Clarion awards, National Magazine awards, an Emmy Citation for excellence in television writing, the Women's Sports Journalism Award, the Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations and, most recently, the University of Missouri School of Journalism Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism.
She also received the first Doctorate of Human Justice awarded by Simmons College, the Bill of Rights Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the National Gay Rights Advocates Award, the Liberty award of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Ceres Medal from the United Nations and a number of honorary degrees. Parenting magazine selected her for its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 for her work in promoting girls' self-esteem, and Biography magazine listed her as one of the 25 most influential women in America. In 1993, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. She has been the subject of two biographical television documentaries and "The Education of a Woman," a biography written by Carolyn Heilbrun.
In 1993, her concern with child abuse led her to co-produce and narrate an Emmy Award-winning TV documentary for HBO, "Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories." With Rosilyn Heller, she also co-produced an original 1993 TV movie for Lifetime, "Better Off Dead," which examined the parallel forces that both oppose abortion and support the death penalty.
Ms. Steinem graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in 1956, and then spent two years in India on a Chester Bowles Fellowship. She wrote for Indian publications, and was influenced by Gandhian activism.
She has served on the board of trustees of Smith College, as well as the boards of other non-profit and educational foundations. She was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a three-year effort on the part of activists and experts from South Africa, Brazil and the United States to compare the racial patterns of those three countries and to learn cross-nationally.
She now lives in New York City and is currently at work on "Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered," a book about her more than 30 years on the road as a feminist organizer. She is also writing for other books and publications, and she recently co-founded the Women's Media Center.