Aug. 8, 2013
In its announcement, the White House noted that Steinem is “a leader in the women’s liberation movement, co-founded Ms. magazine, and helped launch a wide variety of groups and publications dedicated to advancing civil rights. Ms. Steinem has received dozens of awards over the course of her career, and remains an active voice for women’s rights.”
“The co-founders and board of The Women’s Media Center are even prouder than usual of our beloved co-founder and sister, Gloria Steinem, who will be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” said Robin Morgan, co-founder of The Women’s Media Center. “Rarely has an honor been more deserved. We celebrate this announcement, and Gloria, and the inherent recognition of feminist activism in the ongoing work for women’s full human rights.”
Julie Burton, president of The Women’s Media Center, said, “The board and staff at The Women’s Media Center are thrilled that President Barack Obama will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to our co-founder, Gloria Steinem. This is a well-deserved honor: For over four decades, Gloria has struggled for political and social equality and justice. We have come to take it for granted that she will always be where she is most needed, at the podium, on TV, on the plane, phone, or at the computer, to make the ideal of social justice a reality. Her phrases have become the motto of our era. Her activism and fundraising have directly transformed the constitution of Congress and state legislatures. Women are in these places because of the endeavors of Gloria Steinem.
Burton continued, “The history of the women’s movement has been a struggle for women’s voices to be heard. In the tradition of Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gloria has forever changed the 20th and 21st centuries for women and men through her words and actions. Her brilliant writing, tireless advocacy, intelligence and humor have carried and propelled our dreams. We are so proud that President Obama will honor her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
Steinem is one of 16 recipients who will be honored by Obama at the White House later this year. The medal is “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the U.S., to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
“I’m honored and touched to receive the Medal of Freedom, especially in the company of Bayard Rustin, Oprah Winfrey, Sally Ride, and other of my heroes,” Steinem said. “I know this is a recognition of the countless women and men who have worked for a society in which we are linked, not ranked, and have always understood that the caste systems based on sex and race, class and sexuality, can only be uprooted together. There is no president from whose hand I would be more honored to receive this than President Obama.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the executive order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the medal. More than 500 individuals have been awarded the medal.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours,” Obama said in a White House statement issued today. “This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”
Other honorees announced today include former President Bill Clinton, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, country singer Loretta Lynn, former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, baseball star Ernie Banks, former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, former Indiana senator Richard Lugar, jazz legend Arturo Sandoval, Nobel Prize winners Daniel Kahnemann and Mario Molina, U.S. Circuit Court chief judge Patricia Wald and civil rights leader C.T. Vivian. Posthumous awards went to astronaut Sally Ride, former Sen. Daniel Inouye and late civil rights activist Bayard Rustin.
The Women’s Media Center works to make women and girls visible and powerful in the media through strategic programs that transform the media landscape, and that include media training, media monitoring and activism, media reports, media programs, and special initiatives. The Women’s Media Center also produces original media content on our CBS radio show, “Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan,” and publishes Women’s Media Center Features that provide progressive women’s perspectives on both headline stories and timely events. In addition to Steinem and Morgan, the organization was founded in 2005 by Jane Fonda.
Press release Women’s Media Center