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Gloria Steinem | The Renowned Journalist and Social Political Activist



Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is one of the most renowned faces of the American feminist movement. She is a writer and journalist by profession. Gloria rose to prominence during the late 1960s as the spokeswoman for feminism. She co-founded the successful American feminist magazine Ms. During the 1980s, Gloria was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, she did not give up and overcame the disease. Gloria has devoted her life to making the world a better place. She has written several inspirational books that have helped millions of people.


Gloria Steinem is a globally-recognized journalist, social activist, editor, lecturer, author, and feminist organizer. She has been an active media spokeswoman for equality for over four decades. During the 1960s, Gloria went undercover as a Playboy Bunny to reveal the harsh reality of the nightclub and resort chain. She has actively spoken for female and transgender rights throughout her career. Renowned personalities like Diane von Furstenberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Meghan Markle, and Jane Fonda believe that Gloria has helped change the mindset of society. 

Early Life

On the 25th of March 1934, Gloria Marie Steinem was born in Toledo, Ohio, USA. Her father, Leo Steinem, worked as an antique dealer. In contrast, her mother, Ruth Nuneviller, worked as a journalist. However, before she gave birth to Gloria, she slipped into depression and mental illness. Gloria has two sisters. At age 34, Ruth had a nervous breakdown leading to hallucinations. Gloria’s father sold antiques while traveling in a trailer. As a result, the family constantly moved from one place to another. Leo could not provide financial stability to his wife and children. As time passed by, Ruth’s mental condition began deteriorating. She could do a job for an extended period. Moreover, Ruth needed to visit sanatoriums intermittently. 

These events had a massive impact on Gloria’s childhood. When she was ten, her parents got divorced. Gloria’s older sister had already left for college. As a result, Ruth and Gloria were forced to live independently. Gloria became her mother’s full-time caregiver. However, she did not blame her father for the situation. Gloria understood the circumstances. Their financial condition worsened in the following years. Ruth’s doctors had a general apathy toward her due to their anti-woman philosophies. Growing up, Gloria suffered from various incidents that made her realize the poor condition of women in society. She constantly experienced social injustices with her mother. 

Life Before Journalism 

Gloria attended Western High School in Washington, D.C., with her sister. Later, she enrolled at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 1956, Gloria graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. At age twenty-two, she had an abortion. Gloria had a fellowship in India and was waiting in London, England, for her visa. During her time in London, she worked as a waitress to make ends meet. However, she had an unwanted pregnancy and wanted an abortion. At the time, abortions were illegal in England. Gloria contacted a doctor. The doctor agreed to perform the abortion only if Gloria promised never to tell his name to anyone and live her life the way she wanted. After that, Gloria went to India for two years for her fellowship. While she was in India, she learned about Gandhi’s activism. Consequently, Gloria began writing for Indian publications. 

Initial Years in Journalism

Upon returning to the USA, Gloria started working for the Independent Research Service. In 1960, Warren Publishing hired her as an employee of the American satire magazine Help! Gloria was also working as a freelance writer at the time. During the early 1960s, Esquire Magazine gave Gloria an assignment about contraception. Later, she wrote an article about unfair societal norms that forced women to lead difficult lives. In 1963, while working on Show Magazine’s article, Gloria revealed the harsh reality of Playboy mansions. She went undercover as a Playboy Bunny (a waitress who works at the Playboy club). She did the job for two weeks. The same year, Show Magazine published Gloria’s article “A Bunny’s Tale.” The published work contained information about the exploitation of women at Playboy nightclubs and resorts. Gloria became a recognized name in the journalism industry after the article. 


After A Bunny’s Tale’s publication, Gloria could not land writing assignments. People started looking down on her. However, Gloria’s faith was unwavering. In 1972, she co-founded the feminist magazine Ms. with Dorothy Pitman Hughes. Within eight days, the magazine’s 300,000 test copies sold out. The same year, Gloria became the first-ever female spokesperson at the National Press Club. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, she continued to voice her opinions against gender inequality. Gloria wrote powerful essays that helped change society’s norms. She covered sensitive topics like surgical assaults, patriarchy, and transgender rights in her writings. Gloria traveled the world and delivered life-changing speeches. To date, the world considers Steinem, the most significant feminist.

Also read: Sarojini Naidu | Story of a Powerful Freedom Fighter

How old is Gloria Steinem?

Gloria Steinem is 88 years old as of 2022. She was born on the 25th of March 1934 in Ohio, USA. Her father worked as an antique seller, whereas her mother was a journalist. She grew up traveling from one place to another due to her father’s business.

What is the net worth of Gloria Steinem?

Gloria Steinem’s net worth is estimated to be $4 million. She is one of the most significant social activists globally. Gloria began her journalism career during the 1960s. She co-founded the popular feminist magazine Ms. in 1972.

Is Gloria Steinem married?

No, Gloria Steinem is not married to anyone as of 2022. In 2000, she married David Bale, a renowned animal welfare activist. However, David succumbed to death in 2003. David was the father of prominent Hollywood actor Christian Bale.

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