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Steinem brings 21st century feminism to ASU

October 01, 2007

Gloria Steinem, a writer, editor and activist who has been speaking out on issues of equality for more than 40 years, will be at Arizona State University Oct. 17 to deliver the Feldt/Barbanell Women of the World Lecture at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s Arizona Ballroom. The title of her talk is “Feminism for the 21st Century.”

The event, presented by ASU’s Women and Gender Studies program, is free and open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors open at 6 p.m. More information is available at (480) 965-2358 or online at

“Feminism and a feminist perspective continue to be relevant when addressing contemporary issues of equality and social justice,” says Mary Margaret Fonow, director of the Women and Gender Studies program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Gloria Steinem is an enduring figure of the women’s movement, and she has earned that recognition through her tireless activism on behalf of women and girls,” Fonow says. “Steinem has made the rights of women an important part of the international human rights agenda and her message continues to inspire new generations of young women. We are pleased to be able to bring her to ASU as part of the Feldt/Barbanell Women of the World Lecture Series.”

Steinem, who in 1972 co-founded Ms. magazine and remained one of its editors for 15 years, now travels world wide as a feminist activist and lecturer. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice.

In 1993, her concern with child abuse led her to co-produce and narrate an Emmy Award winning television documentary “Multiple Personalities: The Search for Dead Memories.”

In addition to published works in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine and numerous publications in the United States and in other countries, Steinem has written several best selling books, including “Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem,” “Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions,” “Moving Beyond Words” and “Marilyn: Norma Jean,” on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Her writing also appears in many anthologies and textbooks, and she was an editor of Houghton Mifflin’s “The Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History.”

She currently is at work on “Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered,” a book about her life on the road as a feminist organizer. When not traveling, Steinem calls New York city home.

Steinem graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in 1956, and then spent two years in India on a Chester Bowles Fellowship. She wrote for Indian publications and was influenced by Gandhian activism.

She has served on the board of trustees of Smith College and is working with the Sophia Smith Collection at the college on a project to document the grassroots origins of the U.S. women’s movement.

As a writer, Steinem has received the Penney-Missouri Journalism Award, the Front Page and Clarion awards, the Women’s Sports Journalism Award, the Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations and the University of Missouri School of Journalism Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism.

She also received the first Doctorate of Human Justice awarded by Simmons College, the Bill of Rights Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Ceres Medal from the United Nations.

Parenting magazine selected her for its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 for her work in promoting girls’ self-esteem, and Biography magazine listed her as one of the 25 most influential women in America. In 1993, Steinem was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. She has been the subject of two biographical television documentaries, and “The Education of a Woman,” a biography written by Carolyn Heilbrun.

Steinem also helped to found the Women’s Action Alliance, a pioneering national information center that specialized in nonsexist, multiracial children’s education, and, the National Women’s Political Caucus, a group that continues to work to advance the numbers of pro-equality women in elected and appointed office at a national and state level.

She was president and co-founder of Voters for Choice, a pro-choice political action committee for 25 years, then with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund when the two groups merged for the 2004 elections. She also was the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a national multi-racial, multi-issue fund that supports grassroots projects to empower women and girls.

In 2004 Steinem co-founded The Women’s Media Center, a non-partisan, non-profit progressive women's media organization based in New York. Serving on the board of the center is Gloria Feldt, who, along with Alex Barbanell are the benefactors of The Feldt/Barbanell Women of the World Lecture, which was established in 2002 to bring to Arizona State University prominent individuals to address issues of a global nature and their effects on women. Feldt is an author, speaker and women’s right advocate who is the past president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Barbanell, a retired insurance executive, is an ASU history department alumnus and one of the founding members of the Dean’s Council in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.