Gloria Steinem gets Presidential Medal of Freedom

Posted Monday 19 Aug 2013

The Women's Media Center proudly congratulates co-founder Gloria Steinem on being named recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the nation's highest civilian honor.

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."

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.

Next Up...

WIFT NZ Board Nominations

Posted Monday 19 Aug 2013

Nominations for positions on the WIFT NZ Board for the 2013/2014 year are now open, with a closing date of 12 September for nomination forms to be received in the WIFT office.  As a membership organisation, governance should be of interest to all our members.  We would encourage you therefore to engage with the process and think about who you would like to lead you at Board level over the coming year.

Current sitting members are all eligible for re-election if they wish to put themselves forward and most are.

The Board nomination form is attached here and when completed can be scanned and sent via email to or posted to

PO Box 90 415, Auckland 1142.

Please note the following:
- only full WIFT NZ members are eligible to vote for and/or take up a Board position
- Auckland members can nominate for the general positions of President and General Board Member, and for 2 x Auckland Region positions only
- Wellington members can nominate for the general positions of President and General Board Member, and for 2 x Wellington Region positions only
- South Island members can nominate for the general positions of President and General Board Member, and for 1 x South Island Region position only

All nominations must be signed by a nominator and seconder, as well as by the nominee.  Nominees can nominate themselves and simply require a seconder's signature.

All nominations must be accompanied by a short statement (of no longer than 300 words) setting out the credentials and objectives of the nominee for the Board.

The role of a Board member is to lead the organisation through setting of strategic policy, ensuring financial viability and supporting the National Managerto manage the operations of the organisation.  Board members are required to attend six board meetings (generally by phone if outside the meeting centre but in person on at least two occasions during the year), unless extraordinary circumstances do not allow and the President/Office must be advised of thesein advance.  They may also be required to represent the organisation publically and to assist operational delivery, policy work and other matters from time to time.

The timeframe for the election process is as follows:
15th August                         Nominations Open
12th September                 Closing date for nominations
17th September                 Voting Papers Issued (if necessary)

9th October                         Voting Closed
10th October                       2013-14 Board confirmed and AGM convened.

If you have any queries, don't hesitate to contact Patricia Watson at the WIFT office.

WIFT NZ| PO Box 90 415, Auckland 1142

Unit C5, Level 1, 1 Beresford Sq , Auckland 1010

P +64 (0)9 373 4071 E