Recently, President Obama awarded Gloria Steinem the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a feminist and her activism. Many were surprised that Steinem was given the honor, and some wondered whether or not she deserved it. Steinem has been considered the face of current, modern feminism.
According to policymic.com, Steinem’s advocacy for women’s rights began early in 1969 and an abortion speak-out. Not long after, Steinem launched Ms. Magazine and lobbied for the Equal Rights Amendment in the Senate. She also co-founded the organization Choice USA. Even though she has done these awesome things, she is mostly known for her role as a speaker and her way of using media to make these issues available to the public. Steinem also has a way of cutting across party lines and influencing Republicans as well as the Democratic Party. She is also a survivor of breast cancer.
There has been some criticism around her win. Steinem has been accused of supporting “man-hating” and being pejorative of lesbians—which she has denied on numerous occasions. However, most feminists agree that it is a step in the right direction for equality, and that Steinem was long overdue for an award like this. Charles Clymer states, “The president will honor Gloria Steinem (and feminism) in a powerful manner. It is a long-due victory, but it does not atone for the inequality women still face.”