Betty Friedan

Friedan, Betty Naomi

Betty Naomi Friedan (frēdăn´), 1921–2006, American social reformer and feminist, b. Peoria, Ill. as Bettye Goldstein, educated at Smith College (B.A., 1942) and the Univ. of California at Berkeley. A suburban housewife and sometime writer, she published The Feminine Mystique (1963), attacking the then-popular notion that women could find fulfillment only as wives, childbearers, and homemakers. Widely read and extremely influential, the book played an important role in the creation of the modern feminist movement. In 1966 Friedan helped found the National Organization for Women and served as its president until 1970. She also helped organize the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws in 1969 and the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971. In The Second Stage (1981), she argued that feminists must reclaim the family and bring more men into the movement by addressing child care, parental leave, and flexible work schedules. In The Fountain of Age (1993) Friedan criticized "the age mystique" and society's frequently patronizing treatment of the elderly; she advocated new, positive roles for older citizens.

See her It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women's Movement (1976) and her memoir Life So Far (2000); biography by J. Hennessee (1999); study by S. Coontz (2010).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Betty Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique: The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism
Daniel Horowitz.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1998
The Future of Feminism
Friedan, Betty.
Free Inquiry, Vol. 19, No. 3, Summer 1999
Against the Tide: Women Reformers in American Society
Paul A. Cimbala; Randall M. Miller.
Praeger Publishers, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Betty Friedan and the National Organization for Women" begins on p. 153
Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook
Jennifer Scanlon.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Betty Friedan" begins on p. 111
American Orators of the Twentieth Century: Critical Studies and Sources
Bernard K. Duffy; Halford R. Ryan.
Greenwood Press, 1987
Librarian’s tip: "Betty Friedan" begins on p. 153
Sexual Power: Feminism and the Family in America
Carolyn Johnston.
University of Alabama Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Betty Friedan begins on p. 207
Leaders from the 1960s: A Biographical Sourcebook of American Activism
David DeLeon.
Greenwood Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "Betty Friedan: A Founder of the Second Feminist Movement" begins on p. 248
A Evolving Feminist in Defense of Aging
Goode, Stephen.
Insight on the News, Vol. 9, No. 43, October 25, 1993
Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction
Rosemarie Putnam Tong.
Westview Press, 1998 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Betty Friedan begins on p. 24
Women, Gender, and World Politics: Perspectives, Policies, and Prospects
Peter R. Beckman; Francine D'Amico.
Bergin & Garvey Publishers, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "The Cold War and the Feminine Mystique"
Faces of Feminism: An Activist's Reflections on the Women's Movement
Sheila Tobias.
Westview Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Betty Friedan and the Feminine Mystique"
The Feminine Mystique of the Feminist New Left
Zeifman, Jerome.
Insight on the News, Vol. 15, No. 25, July 5, 1999
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