Gloria Steinem, alumni of Smith College class of 1956, will be visiting her alma mater on March 28th as part of the Presidential Colloquium Series. This lecture series features intellectuals with unique viewpoints and expertise. These experts prompt conversation within the community, as all lectures are free and open to the public. For the 2015 to 2016 academic year, the theme of the lecture series is "Thinking in a Public and Networked World," and "will address the challenges and responsibilities of public discourse."
Steinem is a nationally recognized feminist thinker, journalist, and social and political activist, having gotten her start in Second-wave feminism, which began in the 1960's. In 1962, Steinem's article, on women having to chose between a career and marriage in the political climate of the time, was similar in sentiment to Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique - though preceded Friedan's book by a full year. This and her 1963 investigative journalistic piece, "A Bunny's Tale," about her time undercover at the New York Playboy Club, established her as a respected feminist thinker of the time.
Since the beginning of her career, Steinem has been an advocate for abortion rights, same-sex marriage, transgender rights, and equal pay and opportunity in the workforce for women. In 1972, she co-founded Ms. magazine, and unapologetically feminist publication, with Dorothy Pitman Hughes.
Steinem has also been very actively politically since the beginning of her career. In 1968, she protested taxes to fund the Vietnam War. The following year, Steinem published the article, "After Black Power, Women's Liberation," which solidified her position as a leader of the feminist movement.
In the past, Steinem has spoken about her time at Smith College in the 1950's, saying, "Administrators, professors, the president would say that they were educating women so there would be educated children. They would brag about having four times more male faculty than female faculty because it made it 'serious.'"
Steinem has kept close ties at Smith, having spoken there many times - including giving the commencement address in 2007. The upcoming event on March 28th is being presented by the office of the president at Smith College.