Gloria Steinem's Personal Essay on NPR's This I Believe, August 22

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For immediate release
August 16, 2005
Chad Campbell, NPR: | 202.513.2304

Gloria Steinem's Personal Essay on NPR's This I Believe, August 22

Steinem Writes of Balance Between Nature and Nurture on All Things Considered; Joins Colin Powell, John Updike and Errol Morris as Essayists

WASHINGTON - This I Believe, the NPR® weekly series of personal essays about core values and beliefs - a contemporary version of Edward R. Murrow's landmark 1950s project - will feature the thoughts of writer and social activist Gloria Steinem on the August 22 edition of All Things Considered®.

Sharing insight into her own upbringing - and the fact she didn't attend formal school until she was 12 - Steinem challenges the longtime debate between nature vs nurture and, instead, believes we are an unpredictable mix of both that promises endless possibilities for the future. She declares, "I no longer believe the conservative message that children are naturally selfish and destructive creatures who need civilizing by hierarchies or painful controls... And, I no longer believe the liberal message that children are blank slates on which society can write anything. On the contrary, I believe that a unique core self is born into every human being; the result of millennia of environment and heredity combined in an unpredictable way that could never happen before or again."

Steinem is a journalist and social activist in the feminist, peace and civil rights movements; her commitment was launched during a fellowship to India in the late 1950s. Steinem founded Ms. Magazine as well as the National Women's Political Caucus, the Women's Action Alliance and Coalition of Labor Union Women. She has also written several books, including Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Marilyn: Norma Jean, Moving Beyond Words and Revolution From Within.

Steinem joins an impressive list of essayists who have contributed to the series since it made its premiere April 4; participants have included former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris, authors John Updike, Isabel Allende and Azar Nafisi, psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison and scientist Brian Greene. This I Believe also features the work of NPR listeners from around the country who have responded with essays on a variety of subjects.

During its original run in the 1950s, Murrow's This I Believe launched a national dialogue about core values and beliefs. The contemporary version covers a broad spectrum of topics such as compassion, faith, love, the power of change, the importance of knowledge, the value of family and tolerance. The essays range from poignant to humorous, and provide unique insight into what Americans believe in the 21st century. This I Believe essay writing has already been incorporated into the activities of schools, community groups, places of worship and even birthday celebrations. This I Believe essays have been read or played at weddings and funerals. Additionally, blogs have featured the concept among groups as diverse as college students, senior citizens and people affiliated with various religious and political associations. The segments air every Monday, alternating between NPR's signature newsmagazines Morning Edition® and All Things Considered.

To date, This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on To find your local All Things Considered station, please visit To listen to past essays or to submit an essay, please visit

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.

This I Believe is a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., Dan Gediman and Jay Allison, producers.

This I Believe is partially funded by Farmers Insurance Group of Companies®, which is the nation's third largest Personal Lines Property & Casualty insurance group.