Feminism and concern for the rights of women have been a continuing but not always particularly strong theme in American history since the founding of the Republic. The first visible women's rights movement, associated with the fervor of reform in antebellum America, was symbolized by the Seneca Falls convention and declaration of 1848. The second push for women's equality coincided with the Progressive era and resulted in ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. What can be described as the third identifiable wave of American feminism emerged in the early 1960s.
One of the signal events in the third wave of American Feminism was the publication in 1963 of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. Friedan--born Betty Naomi Goldstein on 4 February 1921 in Peoria, Illinois, the third child of Harry and Miriam Goldstein--was a Westchester County, New York, housewife with an impressive educational background ( Smith College summa cum laude, 1942, followed by a year of graduate work in psychology at the University of California at Berkeley) and some journalistic experience. The book, which drew on findings from a survey of Smith alumnae in the late 1950s, described "the problem that has no name," Friedan's term for the discontent experienced by millions of American women who wanted roles beyond the socially prescribed ones of wife, mother, and homemaker.
Friedan's book traced the roots and dimensions of the domestic role, blaming its limits and frustrations on such factors as Freudian psychology, functionalist sociology, and media images of acceptable female roles. She demonstrated how Freudian psychology hurt women by convincing them and their spouses that female fulfillment could be achieved only through deep personal acceptance of the culture's definitions of wife and mother roles. Functionalist theories on social organization harmed women by suggesting that society worked most efficiently