Gloria Steinem Biography

PHOTO: Gloria Steinem

Steinem was born to an emotionally disturbed mother and a father who was constantly travelling the country in search of work. Determined to be a journalist, she attended Smith College in 1956. After college, she found herself pregnant with her fiancée's child but, deciding that she did not want to become a mother and a housewife, she had an abortion and broke off her engagement.

She then went to India for two years on a scholarship to pursue independent study. While there, she wrote several newspaper articles and a guidebook. In India, she witnessed female oppression and human suffering of the worst kind, and her experience motivated her to help foster change. In 1959, she moved to New York City to work as a freelance writer.

While in New York City, she worked for the Independent Research Service, for which she was later criticised, because of the company's CIA affiliation. She gained national recognition when Esquire published her article, 'I Was a Playboy Bunny', about her undercover work at New York City Playboy Club.

In 1969, many women in New York City began to openly discuss their experiences with abortion. Inspired by what was happening, Steinem became an activist and spokesperson for the feminist movement, helping many different organisations with advocacy and action.

Then, in 1971, she founded Ms. Magazine, the first magazine to offer a woman's viewpoint on political, social, cultural, religious and other issues. In the Seventies, she also helped organize the National Women's Political Caucus, the Women's Action Alliance and the Coalition of Labor Union Women. She also established MS Foundation for Women, an organisation dedicated to helping underprivileged women.

In addition to her advocacy work, Steinem has also written five books, and has been a contributor to many publications. She has tirelessly helped raise funds for many different women's organisations and causes.

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