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Feminist Activist Gloria Steinem to Speak at MCLA

02/18/2014

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) will host writer, lecturer, editor and feminist activist Gloria Steinem in the next Public Policy Lecture, "The Progression of Feminism: Where are we going?" It will take place on Tuesday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the MCLA Church Street Center's Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.

Made possible through the generosity of the Ruth Proud Charitable Trust, "The Progression of Feminism: Where are we going?" is free and open to the public. No reservations are required.

"An outspoken advocate of women's rights and international women's issues, Gloria Steinem campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment and other laws and social reforms that promoted equality between women and men," said John DeRosa, trustee of the Ruth Proud Charitable Trust. "I encourage the community to join us as we hear from this legendary feminist organizer, who continues to work for social justice."

Steinem travels throughout the United States and other countries as an organizer and lecturer, and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. 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 1972, she co-founded Ms. magazine, and remained one of its editors for 15 years. She continues to serve as a consulting editor for Ms., and was instrumental in the magazine's move to join and be published by the Feminist Majority Foundation.

In 1968, she had helped to found New York magazine, where she was a political columnist and wrote feature articles. As a freelance writer, she was published in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine and women's magazines, as well as for publications in other countries.

She has produced a documentary on child abuse for HBO, a feature film about the death penalty for Lifetime, and been the subject of profiles on Lifetime and Showtime.

Her books include the bestsellers "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."

Steinem 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.

For 25 years, she was president and co-founder of Voters for Choice (VFC), a pro-choice political action committee, then with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund when it merged with VFC for the 2004 elections.

She co-founded and serves on the board of Choice USA, a national organization that supports young pro-choice leadership and works to preserve comprehensive sex education in schools.

Steinem 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, and also a founder of its "Take Our Daughters to Work Day," a first national day devoted to girls that has now become an institution here and in other countries.

Steinem was a member of the "Beyond Racism Initiative," a three-year effort on the part of activists and experts from South Africa, Brazil and the U.S. to compare the racial patterns of those three countries and to learn cross-nationally. Today, she works with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith 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, National Magazine awards, an Emmy Citation for excellence in television writing, 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 most recently the University of Missouri School of Journalism Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism.

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 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, the National Gay Rights Advocates Award, the Liberty award of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Ceres Medal from the United Nations, and a number of honorary degrees.

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, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

She has been the subject of two biographical television documentaries, and "The Education of a Woman," a biography written by Carolyn Heilbrun.

In 1993, her concern with child abuse led her to co-produce and narrate an Emmy Award winning TV documentary for HBO, "Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories." With Rosilyn Heller, she also co-produced an original 1993 TV movie for Lifetime, "Better off Dead," which examined the parallel forces that both oppose abortion and support the death penalty.

She lives in New York City, and is at work on "Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered," a book about her more than 30 years on the road as a feminist organizer. She also writes for other books and publications, and co-founded the Women's Media Center in 2004.

"The Progression of Feminism: Where are we going?" is part of MCLA's "Creating Equality" series, produced in recognition of the many 50-year anniversaries of key events in the history of the United States' civil rights movement. Throughout this academic year, the College is exploring the country's civil rights legacy and impact on American society through a number of events and programming.

Through the "Creating Equality" series, the MCLA community examines and honors the dedication, leadership and sacrifice that make social change possible. Through courses, conversations, cultural programs and leadership opportunities, faculty, staff and students consider the accomplishments and challenges associated with all dimensions of human rights, including racial equality, women's rights, gay rights, immigrants' rights and economic equity.

MCLA is proud to honor these movements and the individuals who have led and supported them, and to provide a platform for discussion of these important issues. "Creating Equality" celebrates the progress that has been made and challenges the community to understand and become involved with the ongoing national debate about civil rights.

For more information and a complete listing of "Creating Equality" events, go to www.mcla.edu/creatingequality, www.mcla.edu/gallery51, www.mcla.edu/presents and www.mcla.edu/About_MCLA/notablespeakers/publicpolicylecture.

For more information about "The Progression of Feminism: Where are we going?" go to www.mcla.edu/publicpolicy, or contact Chelsey Burke, 413-662-5391, or C.Burke@mcla.edu.