The Galvanizer Of The Women’s Liberation Movement: Gloria Steinem

1905 words - 8 pages

Whether it is the Ancient Greece, Han China, the Enlightened Europe, or today, women have unceasingly been oppressed and regarded as the second sex. Provided that they have interminably been denied the power that men have had, very few prominent female figures like Cleopatra, the Egyptian Queen, or Jeanne d'Arc, the French heroine, have made it to history books. Veritably, it was not until 1792 when Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women addressed the issues of gender equality, that some started hearkening the seemingly endless mistreatment of women. New Zealand was the first country to grant women the right to vote in 1892. The United States did not endorse this until 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified, which states “The right of citizens of the United States votes shall not be denied or abridged… on account of sex.” This, however, was not the end to women’s plight. For the majority of the 20th century, America’s idea of a good woman was a good mother and a good wife. In the 1960s and 1970s, a movement that would later bring fundamental changes to the American society was spreading rapidly throughout the country: The Women’s Liberation Movement. With the increasing number of educated women, gender inequality received more attention than ever before. Hundreds of women came together to fight domestic violence, lack of political and economic development, and reproductive restrictions. One of these women was an ordinary girl from Ohio named Gloria Steinem who would later become a feminist icon in the United States. Steinem contributed to the Women’s Liberation Movement by writing about feminism and issues concerning women, co-founding Ms. magazine, giving influential speeches— leading he movement along with Betty Freidan.
Steinem was fearless when it came to pursuing her passion as a writer. Wanting to go to college and working were not strange notions to her as both her mother, Ruth Steinem, and her sister, Susanne Steinem Patch, were educated. Born in 1934, Steinem struggled with her parents’ separation, her mother’s mental illness, and some financial problems. Regardless of her tough childhood, she was accepted into Smith College where she discovered her passion for writing about politics. She graduated magna cum laude, with great honor, in 1965 and began working as a journalist. In the workplace, she immediately discovered that the pathway she had chosen was an infrequent one for a woman; her bosses simply did not assign her serious articles. Steinem says, “When it came to assignments as a freelance writer, I was assigned things about fashion and food and makeup and babies.” In the American society of the 1960s and 1970s, women were associated with anything that could make them look like a better mother or wife.
In spite of the disappointment she faced at workplace, she did not recognize that the problem was not her writing skills but the society. She was first acknowledged in 1963 for an article she wrote for Show...

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