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Social activist, writer, editor, and lecturer Gloria Steinem has been an outspoken champion of women's rights since the late 1960s.
Watch a short video about Gloria Steinem and uncover what this journalist did to fight for women's rights.
Gloria Steinhem is a key figure in the woman's movement and feminism. Her writing has helped change the lives of women around the world. Video courtesy of Open Road Media.
Watch a short video about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and how she influenced a generation of women suffragettes, including Susan B. Anthony.
Susan B. Anthony was a prominent women's rights activist in 19th century America who initiated the women's suffrage movement. She was active in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War.
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Others questioned her commitment to the feminist movement because of her glamorous image. Undeterred, Steinem continued on her own way, speaking out, lecturing widely, and organizing various women's functions. She also wrote extensively on women's issues. Her 1983 collection of essays, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, featured works on a broad range of topics from "The Importance of Work" to "The Politics of Food."
In 1986, Steinem faced a very personal challenge when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was able to beat the disease with treatment. That same year, Steinem explored one of America's most iconic women in the book Marilyn: Norma Jean. She became a consulting editor at Ms magazine the following year after the publication was sold to an Australian company.
Steinem found herself the subject of media scrutiny with her 1992 book Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem. To some feminists, the book's focus on personal development to be a retreat from social activism. Steinem was surprised by the backlash, believing that a strong self-image to be crucial to creating change. "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," she explained to People magazine. She considers the work to be "most political thing I've written. I was saying that many institutions are designed to undermine our self-authority in order to get us to obey their authority," she told Interview magazine.
Steinem had another collection of writings, Moving Beyond Words: Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking Boundaries of Gender, published in 1994. In one of the essays, "Doing Sixty," she reflected on reaching that chronological milestone. Steinem was also the subject of a biography written by another noted feminist Carolyn G. Heilbrun entitled Education of a Woman: The Life of Gloria Steinem.
In 2000, Steinem did something that she had insisted for years that she would not do. Despite being known for saying that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, Steinem decided to get married. She wed David Bale, an environmental and animal rights activist and the father of actor Christian Bale. At the age of 66, Steinem proved that she was still unpredictable and committed to charting her own path in life. Her wedding raised eyebrows in certain circles. But the union did not last long. Bale died of brain cancer in 2003. "He had the greatest heart of anyone I've known," Steinem told O magazine.
When Steinem turned 75 in 2009, the Ms. Foundation suggested ways for others to celebrate Steinem's birthday. It called on women to engage in outrageous acts for simple justice. Around this time, Steinem discussed some of the pressing issues of the day. "We've demonstrated that women can do what men do, but not yet that men can do what women do. That's why most women have two jobs—one inside the home and one outside it—which is impossible.
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Few people know the challenges that go along with fighting breast cancer. Aside from the powerful women who have to fight the illness, family, friends and colleagues band together during these trying times as well. And those women who survive the hardships that go along with the affliction—particularly those in the public eye, such as Nancy Reagan, Melissa Etheridge and Wanda Sykes—become inspirations for women everywhere to get checked regularly and stand up to breast cancer. Browse through our group to see the courageous women who triumphed in their fight against breast cancer.
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Did you know that since 1912, nearly 50 million girls in the United States have joined the Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts helped an amazingly diverse array of famous women develop a strong foundation of courage, confidence and character. It's no surprise then that quite a few famous women spent time in the sash. Celebrities who got their start selling cookies and earning merit badges include Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter and actress/writer Carrie Fisher; former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan; Olympic skaters Bonnie Blair and Peggy Fleming; astronaut Sally Ride; and iconic women's rights activist Gloria Steinem. Browse our collection of inspiring famous Girl Scouts who have certainly earned merit badges in their fields.
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