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Mike Windle

TODAY   |  March 25, 2014

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem turns 80

Still redefining her generation, globetrotting activist Gloria Steinem, called by some the face of feminism, marks her 80th birthday on Tuesday. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> now a major milestone for a woman who has been the face of feminism for the last decade. gloria steinem turns 80 today. here's nbc's kristen dahlgren.

>> reporter: gloria steinem isn't mourning her 70s. she's too busy, the globe trotting activist is ushering in her 80s the same way she's lived for decades.

>> she's always on the move, she's always flying to another place. she's always organizing another country.

>> in this country, steinem will always be remembered for the feminist movement.

>> women earn approximately half of what men do.

>> she's appeared on "today" many times.

>> women's pattern of activism has always been the reverse of man's. that is, we tend to get more activist as we get older.

>> and now, just as she changed the rules on what it meant to be a woman, steinem is showing women, it doesn't have to be over in their 80s.

>> it's amazing to me she's so unflagging at her age. so completely devoted to the stuff she does.

>> four decades ago, steinem was famous for declaring this is what 40 looks like. at a time most women hid their age. since then, she's aged in public, even battling breast cancer . and now, embracing life in her ninth decade. she tells the "new york times," i seriously loved aging. i found myself thinking things like, i don't want anything i don't have. how great is that?

>> she does say, well, you do begin to think about mortality. but i have confidence that when she's 90, she'll be looking back and saying, well, 80 was great, but now 90, we've got to get serious here.

>> steinem is not alone. joan rivers , florence henderson , carol burnett and barbara walters , all over 80. and suzanne summers turned heads. empowered women, what gloria steinem was fighting for. nbc news, chicago.

>> happy birthday to her.