Saturday, September 29, 2007

WS 200-Betty Friedan

The Woman in History that I chose is Betty Friedan. She was born February 4, 1921 in

Peorie, Illinois as Bettye Naomi Goldstein. She graduated high school in 1938 only to further her

career at Smith College. She graduated cum laude in 1942. She was a very intelligent woman

whose training was as a psychologist however she did not pursue that career. She married Carl

Friedman in 1947. They changed their last name by dropping the "m". Betty and Carl had three

children: Emily, Daniel, and Jonathan. Betty divorced Carl in 1969 due to spousal abuse. She

became quite an activist for women's rights. She also became a powerful writer. She wrote "The

Femine Mystique" in 1963 which actually made her quite famous. It was a very controversial

best seller that transformed women's lives forever which started the second wave of feminism. Over

three million books were sold by the year 2000. This book exposed sexism and opened

womens' eye's to the importance outside the home, not just inside. This was a major

accomplishment for Betty as she touched so many lives. In 1966, Betty was the co-founder of

NOW (National Organization for Women). She was the first president from 1966-1970. She was

not in favor of homosexuality issues at first but later changed her stance on the issue. Betty also

wrote the following books: It Changed My Life in 1976, The Second Stage in 1981, The

Fountain of Age in 1993, Beyond Gender in 1997, and her autobiography Life so Far in 2000.

In 1971, with the help of some others, Betty founded the National Women's Political Caucus.

She also assisted in the founding of NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion

Laws) which is now known as Naral Pro-Choice America. In 1993, Betty was inducted into the

National Women's Hall of Fame, a major accomplishment. She was instrumental in social

activism in the area of pursuing unisex help wanted ads and stressing the need for women to be

in the fields of politics, medicine, clergy, and the military. Betty's goal in life was to eliminate

discrimination for all women.

The first time that I heard about Betty Friedan was this summer in my Modern America history

class. I find this rather interesting as she accomplished so much for women and the sections in

my book about her were not large. She teaches me the importance of never giving up on my

dreams and standing up for what you believe in. Ironically, Betty died on her birthday in 2006.

The research I used for this blog came from internet sites: Wikipedia, NOW, New York Times,

and American Workers. For further study and information about Betty, I would recommend

reading her books, articles at as well as other organizations she assisted.

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