Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934) is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the Women's Liberation Movement in the late 1960s and 1970s. A prominent writer and political figure, Steinem is today considered one of American history's most important women and one of the most transformative figures of the twentieth century. She has founded many organizations and projects and has been the recipient of many awards and honors.
Rising to national prominence as a feminist leader in 1969, Steinem was a columnist at New York magazine in the 1960s, having helped found the magazine earlier that decade; she was also politically involved and was a member of the Democratic National Committee. She broke ground in 1963 with an investigative report of how the women of Playboy were treated, which was later made into the 1985 movie A Bunny's Tale. Steinem, a pioneering female journalist in the male-dominated news capital of New York, published her memorable article, "After Black Power, Women's Liberation", in 1969 which, along with her early support of abortion rights, catapulted her to national fame as a feminist leader (the abortion issue, in which Steinem took a prominent pro-choice role, had already begun to divide pro-choice and pro-life feminists in the 1960s, and would continue to faction the Women's Movement into the next decade).
In 1970 Gloria Steinem established herself as a leader of the Women's Movement with her impassioned Senate testimony in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment and her essay on a utopia of equality, "What It Would Be Like If Women Win", in Time magazine. While Steinem would clash with both the older generation of women's rights leaders, most prominently Betty Friedan, as well as the younger, more militant Women's Liberation activists, she would gain a large, diverse, and multi-partisan following and become, alongside Friedan, the Women's Rights Movement's most prominent and influential spokesperson and leader. In 1970 she led the New York City march of the nation-wide Women's Strike for Equality alongside Friedan and then-Congressional candidate Bella Abzug. As the postergirl of the Feminist Movement Steinem was a frequent guest on the news and news shows, television talk shows and specials, and on the covers of newspapers and other puplications, including magazines Newsweek, Time, McCall's, People, New Woman, Ms., and Parade. On July 10, 1971, Steinem, along with other feminist leaders (including Betty Friedan, Fannie Lou Hamer, Myrlie Evers, and several U.S. Representatives, including Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug) founded the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC). An influential co-convener of the Caucus, she delivered her memorable "Address to the Women of America." The next year Steinem became the founding editor and publisher of Ms. magazine, which speedily became a success, bringing feminist issues to the forefront of society and the media, quickly becoming the movement's most influential publication. In 1972 she also played a prominent role at the Democratic National Convention where she supported Shirley Chisholm's candidacy. That year Steinem and the NWPC had successfully organized bipartisan efforts to increase the representation of women at both major party conventions. In the early 1970s Steinem became the first woman to address the National Press Club.