May

06

Few have done more to make women feel visible, heard, and included than Mary Thom (June 3, 1944 – April 26, 2013), founding editor of legendary feminist magazine Ms. and editor-in-chief of the Women’s Media Center, the think-tank co-founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and reconstructionist Gloria Steinem.

In her role as editor extraordinaire, Thom deliberately avoided the limelight herself while selflessly amplifying women’s voices and championing equal rights in all aspects of life, from career to sexuality. In the very first issue of Ms., “in a campaign for honesty and freedom,” fifty-three women signed a petition stating that they had had an abortion or standing in solidarity with others who had. Long before the era of digitally-driven political transparency, Thom created a system of grading politicians and their position on reproductive rights, which went on to become one of Ms. magazine’s most popular features. What reconstructionist Ursula Nordstrom did for the voice of children’s literature, Thom did for the voice of feminism.

To honor Thom’s legacy, the Women’s Media Center has announced a Mary Thom Art of Editing Award. Steinem, Morgan, and Fonda reflected on the award and its inspiration:

A first-rate editor practices a craft demanding great skill, one that doesn’t impose external meaning or agendas on a work but elicits the content and the creator’s voice all the more clearly. Mary Thom did this and more.

For that and so much more, thank you, Mary.

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