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March 25: Gloria Steinem

March 24, 2013

SteinemGloria_hi resGloria Steinem, a co-founder of Ms. magazine who became the most widely recognized leader and spokeswoman of the modern feminist movement, was born in Toledo, Ohio on this date in 1934. Her mother was a Presbyterian, raised in Theosophy, and her father was a Jew. “Never in my life have I identified myself as a Christian,” Steinem has said, “but wherever there is anti-Semitism, I identify as a Jew.” (A rich portrait of her Jewish influences can be read at the Jewish Women’s Archive.) Steinem began her career as a freelance journalist for New York magazine and Cosmopolitan (for which she interviewed John Lennon), and as a writer for television’s That Was the Week That Was. Ms. was launched in 1972, with funding by Clay Felker, New York’s publisher. It sold 300,000 copies in three days, and generated 26,000 subscription orders and over 20,000 letters-to-the-editor. Among the organizations that Steinem helped to launch were the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Choice USA, and the Women’s Action Alliance. Her seven books include Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983), Revolution from Within (1992), and Doing Sixty & Seventy (2006).

“God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there’s no turning back.” —Gloria Steinem