Gloria Steinem Biography

Gloria Steinem is a famous political activist, feminist and journalist. Explore this biography for some interesting facts on her profile, childhood, life and timeline.

Gloria Steinem

Quick Facts

Gender: Female
Birthday: 25 March 1934
Nationality: American
Famous: Activists
Sun Sign: Aries
Spouse/Ex-: David Bale
Siblings: Susanne Steinem Patch
Education: Smith College
Awards: Presidential Medal of Freedom, Humanist of the Year, National Women's Hall of Fame, Library of Congress Living Legend, Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, Women's Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award, The Smith College Medal

Gloria Steinem is a social activist and a staunch advocator of women’s movements and feminism. A recipient of innumerable awards, Steinem has founded many organizations and projects for women and has been an avid columnist for ‘New York’ magazine and ‘Ms.’, which she co-founded. One of her articles, ‘After Black Power, Women’s Liberation’, catapulted her to national fame as a vocal feminist leader. She has worked alongside many personalities such as Jane Fonda, Bella Abzug, Betty Freidan and Robin Morgan, advocating women’s rights through the establishment of important organizations such as the ‘Women’s Media Center’. Currently, she is a breast-cancer survivor and is known as the author of hard-hitting, thought-provoking books and essays. An outspoken champion of women’s rights backed with an early career in journalism, Gloria Steinem faced censure from a number of feminists for her uninhibited works. However, she was undeterred and continued to write a number of articles and features such as ‘Moving Beyond Words: Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking Boundaries of Gender’ and ‘Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem’. Today, Steinem continues to involve herself in media affairs and politics and is an avid commentator, lecturer, writer and a speaker on a wide spectrum of topics ranging from pornography to gender mutilation, abortion and transsexualism. For interesting trivia, read further.

Childhood & Early Life

Gloria Steinem was born on March 25, 1934 to Leo Steinem and Ruth, in Toledo Ohio.
She was only 10-years-old when her parents separated and she continued to live with her mother, which inspired her feminist thinking due to her mother’s recurring illness and the social injustice that she was facing.
She attended Waite High School and Western High School in Washington D.C., from which she graduated. She then enrolled at Smith College.
In the 1950’s, Steinem stayed in India for two years where she lived as a Chester Bowles Asian Fellow. She returned to the U.S. and served in the CIA-backed Independent Research Service.


In 1960, she was appointed by Warren Publishing as the first employee of ‘Help!’ magazine. Soon after, she began freelancing for a number of other publications, where she wrote some memorable articles, such as a 1962 article which spoke about women choosing their careers over marriage.
In 1963, Steinem wanted to expose a posh New York City’s Playboy Club for ‘Show’ magazine. In order to get to the undercover details, she was hired as a playboy ‘bunny’ (waitress), where she had to be scantily dressed, following which, she published an article that made her famous overnight.
Around this time, she helped create ‘New York’ magazine and also wrote a column on politics for the same.
In 1969, after an abortion speak-out for New York Magazine and after a hearing given by the radical feminist group, ‘Redstockings’, she collated her feminist views and expressed them in a stimulating essay, ‘After Black Power, Women’s Liberation’, which was published the same year.
In 1971, Steinem joined hands with a number of feminists and formed the National Women’s Political Caucus, which strived to eradicate women’s issues. The same year, she launched the feminist, ‘Ms.’ Magazine, the first independent issue of which, released in 1972.
Apart from being an avid columnist, she campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment and formed a number of feminist groups such as ‘Women’s Action Alliance’, ‘Ms. Foundation for Women’, ‘Choice USA’ and ‘Women’s Media Center’. Although she faced a lot of criticism, she openly organized feminist lectures and other feminist functions.
In 1983, her essays ‘Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions’, became immensely popular.
She became the consulting editor of ‘Ms.’ Magazine, before it was sold to an Australian company in 1987.
She faced backlash from other feminists after the release of her book, ‘Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem’, in 1992.
Another collection of writings, ‘Moving beyond Words: Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking Boundaries of Gender’, was published in 1993.
In the later years of her life, Steinem became an outspoken supporter of gay rights, animal rights and fought against hard-hitting subjects like genital mutilation, pornography and human-trafficking.
She also came up with the famous slogan, ‘A woman needs a man, like a fish needs a bicycle’.
In the 2004 General Elections, Steinem voiced criticism of the Bush administration and became an active participant in the presidential campaigns for the years to come.


The Thousand Indias
The Beach Book
Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions
Marilyn: Norma Jean
Revolution from Within
Moving Beyond Words
Doing Sixty & Seventy


After Black Power, Women’s Liberation
What It Would Be Life If Women Win

Awards & Achievements

She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, 1993
She is the honorary chairperson of Democratic Socialists of America
She was named the American Humanist Association’s 2012 Humanist of the Year, 2012.

Personal Life & Legacy

Gloria Steinem was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986, which was cured the same year. She was also diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia in 1994.
On September 3, 2000, she married David Bale, father of actor, Christian Bale, who is now her step-son. They were married for only 3 years before he died of a brain lymphoma.

Citation Information

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Gloria Steinem Biography

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Last Updated

May 24, 2019

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