On November 20, 2013, President Obama awarded Ms. Gloria Steinem the highest award any non-military US citizen can receive, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. First, I want to congratulate Ms. Steinem, but I also want to say – what took so long?
It’s been 40 plus years since Steinem helped women break free from the kitchen, stereotypes and unfair social and civil treatment. Her tour de force started in the then men’s world of journalism and then quickly into activism where she has since resided leading the way in progressive thought as a social agent of change. There is not one woman in the US who is not better off for her efforts to make the US a much more egalitarian place. She received such high honors for her “lasting political and social change in America and abroad and, among other things, for “inspiring us all to take up the cause of reaching for a more just tomorrow,” (Obama). (If you’d like a great view into Steinem’s history and activism, Lizzie Crocker has a wonderful piece in The Daily Beast.)
While Steinem saw the award as “…a medal for the entire women’s movement,” hopefully she can take a moment to bask in the glory. Though I doubt it will be long, Steinem recognizes that there’s still more work to do. But for the moment, from women around the US and here at The Feminist Bride, a heartfelt thank you and congrats.
Other female 2013 Presidential Medial of Freedom Recipients Include: Sally Ride, Oprah Winfrey, Loretta Lynn and Patricia Wald. However, only five out of the sixteen recipients were female or 31%.