In July of 1972—two years after Gloria Steinem delivered Vassar's Commencement address—the first issue of Ms. magazine hit the newsstands. It was a revolutionary concept then—a magazine published for women by women. Steinem, its co-founder and editor of 15 years—and, arguably, the publication’s most visible face—says, “It was the kind of magazine I wanted to read.”
A lot of other women felt the same way. The first issue’s 300,000 copies sold out within eight days of publication and 26,000 subscription orders poured in over the next few weeks. Clearly the founders had tapped into a need.
This year, Ms. magazine celebrates 40 years of publication. As part of an anniversary tour, Gloria Steinem delivered a lecture in the Vassar Chapel on September 19. She spoke about prevailing barriers to equality—including what she called a “backlash” against reproductive freedom—and suggested that changing the paradigms around work and gender would benefit both men and women.
The lecture was sponsored by the Women’s Studies Program and cosponsored by the departments/programs of Anthropology, Art, Drama, Education, English, History, Philosophy, Religion, Sociology, French and Francophone Studies, German Studies, International Studies, Media Studies, Sex Education, Urban Studies, and Science, Technology, and Society.
Photos © Vassar College-Evan Abramson ’00.