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Gloria Steinem

Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2021

Gloria Steinem was born in Toledo (Ohio, USA) on 25th March 1934. She graduated from Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts) in 1956, after which she spent two years in India on a fellowship. In 1960, she settled in New York and began working for Help! Magazine. In 1968, after having worked at the Playboy Club, New York in order to write an exclusive on the working conditions and wages of those women, she collaborated in the founding of New York Magazine. As a freelance journalist, she wrote for Esquire and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. In 1972 she co-founded Ms., the first feminist magazine, which was also the first to be created and run exclusively by women. She was one of its editors for fifteen years and still serves on its advisory board, a position that allowed her to play a prominent role in the sale of the magazine to the Feminist Majority Foundation in 2001. Over and above her articles and journalistic works, she has also been a dedicated feminist activist, taking part in different forums and in the founding of women’s organizations, such as the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Ms. Foundation for Women (of which she is a “founding mother”), the Women’s Action Alliance, the Women and AIDS Fund, and the Women’s Media Center.

A prominent member of the American feminist movement since the late 1960s and early 1970s, Gloria Steinem gained notoriety with the 1969 publication of the article “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” in New York Magazine. As a journalist, Steinem has written about labour issues and minority rights and has covered demonstrations whose causes she has also publicly supported.

In her role as an activist, Steinem –who is currently considered in her country as one of the most significant and iconic figures of the women’s rights movement– has also stood out for her efforts in favour of the legalization of abortion, equal pay for men and women and the approval of the Equal Rights Amendment, as well as her fight against the death penalty, female genital mutilation and child abuse.

Gloria Steinem is also the author of several best-sellers, including The Beach Book (1963), Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983), Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem (1992), Marilyn (1997), Doing Sixty & Seventy (2006) and My Life on the Road (2015). Based on this last book, the biographical film The Glorias was released in 2020. That same year, the HBO network premiered the series Mrs. America, which narrates some of the main episodes of the beginnings of the feminist struggle in the US featuring Steinem.

Among other distinctions, she has received the Penney-Missouri Journalism Award (1970), the Women’s Sports Journalism Award (2004) and the Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award (USA, 2015). Holder of honorary degrees from several universities, she has been distinguished with the first doctorate in Human Justice from Simmons College (USA, 1973), the National Gay Rights Advocates Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal (2013). Furthermore, in 1993 she was included in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, while the Library of Congress of the United States included her among its Living Legends in 2000. She was bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2013. Rutgers University created the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies in 2017. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed March 31, 2019 as Gloria Steinem Day.

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