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Glorious Steinem

Why we love the feminist, activist and writer, Gloria Steinem.

"I practically stop people in the street to tell them how old I am!"

1. She's autodidactic

She was twelve before she completed a full year in school, travelling with her father while he worked and caring for her unwell mother.

"My parents loved me and they treated me better than they could treat themselves."

She learned to read by studying ketchup bottles and billboards.

2. She's inspired generations of feminists

Stella Creasy MP said, "I love her! I always say I am a p****d off feminist because of her quote that the truth will set you free, but first it will p**s you off."

3. Age is immaterial

At 81, she is as vital and incisive as ever. "I practically stop people in the street to tell them how old I am!"

"I actually think that your fifties are a time of transition, because you’re leaving what you might call the very gendered years, when women are more valued for reproduction and raising children."

"But turning 60, it's a new country. And it's a great country – you're suddenly freer than you were before. Hopefully one day we'll be free all the time, but at the moment the central years of life for a woman are still fraught with feminine instructions."

4. She changed the landscape of feminism

Steinem created the term 'reproductive freedom', instigated Take Our Daughters to Work Day, and set up Ms. magazine in 1972.

5. She's funny

Her essay, If Men Could Menstruate, involved men bragging about 'how long and how much', young boys talking about it as the beginning of manhood, and sanitary supplies being state-funded.

She loves using humour because "you can’t compel laughter. You laugh when you understand something - aha! - when two things come together and form a third unexpectedly."

6. She's practical

Her Desert Island Discs luxury was eye drops on the grounds that she could use coconuts as a moisturiser.

7. She's realistic

"Nobody can be superwoman. Nobody can do it all. And no man can do it, either. The point is to change the structure so we can all have a life."

"If I had a dollar for ever time Ms. magazine tried to declare 'superwoman' dead, I would have enough to go out and have a vacation."

8. She has great female friends

Her best friend was Wilma Mankiller, the chief of the Cherokee nation.

9. She’s committed

When reporters ask her whether she is interested in anything other than the women's movement she says, "Name me one thing that is separate."

She says that for forty years, reporters have "never been able to come up with anything that would not be transformed by looking at it as if everyone mattered."