Gina Mei
March 25, 2015 7:00 am

It’s Gloria Steinem’s 81st birthday, and today, we’re thinking about all the amazing things she’s done as a political and social activist and generally inspiring human being. (There’s a lot.)

As co-founder of Ms. Magazine, the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), and the Women’s Media Center; author behind groundbreaking articles on women’s equality; and international lecturer and spokeswoman for feminism, there’s no shortage of empowering things that Steinem has done that still affect the lives of young women today. And because the founding feminist and all-around trailblazer is queen of our equality-loving hearts, we’ve decided to celebrate her birthday with a few of her most inspiring quotes.

“Empathy is the most revolutionary emotion.”

“We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.”

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”

“Women may be the one group that grows more radical with age.”

“This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. . . We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.”

Self-esteem isn’t everything; it’s just that there’s nothing without it.”

“In my heart, I think a woman has two choices: Either she’s a feminist or a masochist.”

“Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke . . . She will need her sisterhood.”

“Raising daughters more like our sons is a good thing. But how about raising our sons more like our daughters?”

“Once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect.”

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

“Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.”

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