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© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Betty Friedan: Selected full-text books and articles

The Future of Feminism By Friedan, Betty Free Inquiry, Vol. 19, No. 3, Summer 1999
Books as Bombs By Menand, Louis The New Yorker, Vol. 86, No. 45, January 24, 2011
Against the Tide: Women Reformers in American Society By Paul A. Cimbala; Randall M. Miller Praeger Publishers, 1997
Librarian's tip: "Betty Friedan and the National Organization for Women" begins on p. 153
American Orators of the Twentieth Century: Critical Studies and Sources By Bernard K. Duffy; Halford R. Ryan Greenwood Press, 1987
Librarian's tip: "Betty Friedan" begins on p. 153
Leaders from the 1960s: A Biographical Sourcebook of American Activism By David DeLeon Greenwood Press, 1994
Librarian's tip: "Betty Friedan: A Founder of the Second Feminist Movement" begins on p. 248
"The Comfortable Concentration Camp": The Significance of Nazi Imagery in Betty Friedan's the Feminine Mystique (1963) By Fermaglich, Kirsten American Jewish History, Vol. 91, No. 2, June 2003
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction By 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 By Peter R. Beckman; Francine D'Amico Bergin & Garvey, 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 By Sheila Tobias Westview Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "Betty Friedan and the Feminine Mystique"
The Feminine Mystique of the Feminist New Left By Zeifman, Jerome Insight on the News, Vol. 15, No. 25, July 5, 1999
Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook By Jennifer Scanlon Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: "Betty Friedan" begins on p. 111
Encyclopedia of Jewish American Popular Culture By Jack R. Fischel; Susan M. Ortmann Greenwood Press, 2009
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.