Born in Ohio in 1934, Gloria had an unsettled childhood, living in a trailer from which her father carried out his trade as a roaming antiques dealer, attending school sporadically until she was 11.
Before Gloria was born, her mother had a breakdown which left her an invalid, trapped in delusional fantasies, spending long periods in and out of sanatoriums for the mentally ill. Years later, Steinem described her mother’s experience as pivotal to her understanding of social injustices for women.
On finishing her degree at Smith College, Gloria received a fellowship to study in India for two years. Through the 1960s she worked as a writer and journalist and helping to found New York Magazine, where she was a political columnist and wrote feature articles.
In 1971 Steinem joined other prominent feminists, such as Bella Azbug and Betty Friedan in forming the National Women’s Political Caucus, which worked on behalf of women’s issues.
In 1972, she co-founded the highly successful feminist-themed magazine Ms., remaining one of its editors for fifteen years.
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.
In 2000 at the age of 66, Gloria married David Bale, an environmental and animal rights activist and the father of actor Christian Bale. However he died of brain cancer just three years later. Today she travels around the world as an organiser, lecturer and media spokeswoman on issues of equality.