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February 14, 1921
Betty Friedan was born the year after U.S. women won the right to vote.
She became a journalist during World War II when there were more positions
available because the male journalists were off at war. As a reporter
for the Workers' Press in New York, Betty Friedan saw that women
were paid a fraction of what men were paid and were then fired when
the men returned from war. And, when Betty Friedan asked for maternity
leave she too was fired.
nearly a decade taking care of her family at home, the life she had
been told should make her the most happy as a woman, Betty Friedan still
felt incomplete. She started questioning her friends and found to her
surprise they felt the same way. Thus began The Feminine Mystique,
the book that launched the Women's Liberation Movement. Its basis was
that women's unhappiness was caused by society which "does not
permit women to accept or gratify their basic need to grow and fulfill
their potentialities as human beings."
Soon after this
Betty Friedan helped found NOW (National Organization of Women) and
became its first president. She worked to pass Title VII as well as
the Equal Rights Amendment. She has been a visiting scholar at many
universities and think tanks around the country, including Yale, Columbia,
the Kennedy School of Government and the Woodrow Wilson Institute for
International Scholars in Washington, D.C.
- Co-founder of
NOW and its first president
- Humanist of
the Year - 1975
Professor of Social Evolution at Mount Vernon College in Washington,
- Adjunct scholar
at the Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian
- First recipient
of the American Society of Journalists and Authors' Mort Weisinger
Award for Outstanding Magazine Journalism - 1979
- The Eleanor Roosevelt
Leadership Award - 1989
The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
It Changed My Life, Betty Friedan
The Second Stage, Betty Friedan
Particular Passions, Lynn Gilbert and Gaylen Moore
Women Champions of Human Rights, Moira Davison Reynolds
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