Gloria Steinem was the guest of honor at the Women’s Studies Program Award Luncheon Center last Wednesday, Feb. 19, hosted by the Women’s Studies Program and the Women’s Leadership Institute. During the lunch, awards were given to Auburn University faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and members of the community for their achievements in women's and gender studies and for making a difference in the lives of women. It was only appropriate that with those awards they invited one of the most influential women of our time to speak at the lunch.
Gloria Steinum walked up to the podium in her black blazer covered in gold studs from her shoulders all the way down her arms and a sleek, low ponytail. At 79, she was dressed more hip than the majority of the woman at the luncheon. “It was very clear to me today you all really just needed an excuse to get together,” Steinum joked. “You didn’t need me.” The whole ballroom bursted out into laughter.
Gloria Marie Steinem is an American feminist, journalist, author and social and political activist who has been involved in feminist and other social justice movements for over forty years. Steinem is founder and editor of Ms. Magazine, founder of the Women’s Media Center, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the National Women’s Political Caucus. Steinem has authored four books, is editor of The Reader’s Companion to US Women’s History, and is a frequent media spokesperson.
Steinem spoke briefly at the luncheon about what she has been doing lately, but mainly addressed the women who were in attendance at the lunch and women who had won awards “I thank you for being part of the center of knowledge that is going to transform what we think of as manly,” Steinem said. “Sometimes I find myself referring back to a button I once made that said ‘the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.’”
Steinem shortly spoke about some women’s history, women’s politics and the uprise of the working women, keeping everything very motivational, light and humorous. “Gloria just has a captivating way of saying everything and making you feel like you can leave that room and go run the world,” Junior Auburn student Barrett Budd said. “She’s brilliant, they couldn’t have picked a more fitting inspirational leader to come talk to the amazing women here today.” Steinem ended her speech stating “ I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I look forward to much more trouble making to come.”