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A 4 pages term paper on Betty Friedan: Life of Betty Friedan

     Betty Friedan’s old name was Betty Naomi Goldstein. She was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1921. She was the first kid and daughter to her parents Miriam and Harry Goldstein. After her, they had two more kids. Her mother was a writer and after her marriage she had to leave her job to look after her kids.

     Betty got her early education from Smith College for girls in Massachusetts and she was the newspaper editor there. From the same college, she got the degree of psychology in 1942. . Later she studied psychology further at U.C. Berkeley. She got a job with a labor news service during World War II. In high school she started a magazine.

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     In her elderly age, she joined Outward Bound, which was wilderness survival training organization. In that job, she had to spend 24 hours in woods and she had to river rafting and rappelling. She got fired when she was expecting her second child. She has two sons and a daughter and also has very close friends.

Betty Accomplishments

     She wrote two books. The titles are The Fountain of Age and The Feminine Mystique. In the ‘The Fountain of Age’, she has discussed women and it was also an appeal to men. Betty is known as the "senior stateswoman of feminism." It is believed that the feminist movement began with Betty's book the Feminine Mystique.

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National Organization for Women (NOW)

     National Organization for Women was co-founded in 1966 and she was also the first president of it. As the president of NOW, Betty helped women have more control over their reproduction by enforcing the Civil Rights Act. Betty continues to write, lecture and teach. In 1975 Betty was named "Humanist of the Year."

     Betty Friedan is a very strong woman, throughout her life, she will remain be remember as a brave, strong and courageous person. Her contribution to the nation is of great significance. She would be in the minds of us for a long time and maybe forever because of her contributions. Her name should be in every history book, especially those ones written on women. If the day will come when we will forget Betty Friedan, then it will be the day when there will be no hope, as what she has dome for the rights of women. She is on the board of Girl Scouts. Also she was a delegate to the Whitehouse conference on families in 1980.

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…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
  • Distinguished Professor of Social Evolution at Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C.
  • Adjunct scholar at the Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution
  • First recipient of the American Society of Journalists and Authors' Mort Weisinger Award for Outstanding Magazine Journalism - 1979

The Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Award - 1989 (Betty Friedan)

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A tribute is presented to Betty Judith Hennessee

…Hennessee admires Friedan deeply. She wants to pay fitting tribute to the woman who founded the National Organization for Women and who wrote "The Feminine Mystique." Or, perhaps more accurately, she wants to pay tribute to NOW and "The Feminine Mystique" as cultural phenomena and to Friedan only secondarily as the brain that created them. In fact, Hennessee confesses in her introduction, she found it difficult to reconcile what she so revered about Friedan the thinker with what she learned about Friedan the person. Not long ago, this kind of disillusionment was a familiar problem among Heideggerians, who were dismayed to learn that their brilliant, percipient idol was a Nazi. So it is with Friedan, the great liberator of women, who turns out to have been a misogynist as well as an ill tempered, selfish, ego-driven, arrogant and altogether disagreeable human being. Hennessee writes, "She was a feminist who preferred men ... and deferred to them -- and did not even like most women ... She was rude and nasty, self-serving and imperious ... But the movement she ushered in is immense ... What she did for women outweighs the rest."

Another piece by Alan Wolfe is shown below:

WRITING social criticism is uncomfortably similar to selling life insurance. Your potential readers may not even want to think about your subject, and, to make things more difficult, you have to persuade them to sit still for disquieting information about it. If you can manage that, you then have to reassure them that you have the right answers. And it's a brutally competitive business. An awful lot of critics are out there making a pitch. Yet only a few break through and change the world.

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One who did was Betty Friedan. The Feminine Mystique, first published in 1963, remains one of the most powerful works of popular nonfiction written in America. Not only did the book sell in the millions but also it has long been credited with launching the contemporary feminist movement. How did Friedan do it? For one thing, she told a compelling personal story about her own career choices -- one that resonated with the experiences of her readers.

     Betty’ mother was also a writer and that influences her to get into journalism. And so she started writing in her junior school. And it continued up to her high school and she started working in a school magazine with her male class fellow. Friedan took her new leadership role very seriously. She began lecturing throughout the country, explaining her ideas for change and dispelling the myth that women should be totally satisfied being wives and mothers. She was hungry to get more the climate in which women will be living.

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     She advocated professional training and shared jobs, where two women share the same position and split the hours of work. This would accommodate the millions of mothers who wanted to work and spend time with their children. She had arranged for day care centers to be set up at or near offices for men as well as women so that both parents could share in early childhood experiences without having to sacrifice their careers. Friedan was a pioneer in her efforts to reinvent America's institutions

     When Friedan got the tour of the country advocating her ideas, she began to realize that women needed a national organization to promote their interests. Inspired by the civil rights movement, which had just succeeded in getting the. At the Washington Hilton Hotel in June 1966, Friedan and several others, including Kay Clarenbach of the Women's Bureau, Dorothy Haener of the United Auto Workers union, and Muriel Fox, a top public relations expert, wrote out on a napkin the first major structure of the women's movement. They set out to take the actions needed to bring women into the mainstream of American society "now" and to obtain full equality for women, in fully equal partnership with men That brief purpose became the cornerstone of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which was officially launched a few months later on October 29, 1966.

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A part of an interview taken with her is presented below:


Region: Your writing seems to suggest that achieving gender parity in income is the highest priority for achieving overall gender equality. Is that what you mean to say?

Friedan: Economic equity is an enormous empowerment of women. Having jobs that provide income means that, women can be a more effective force, a more equal force, in the political process. Women with income take themselves more seriously and they are taken more seriously.

I don't mean to say that income is the only benefit women gain from working. Yes, you have to have money to live. But there is something beyond monetary rewards. It is essential to be a part of the ongoing work of society. I've interviewed men and women who've burned out on their jobs, or lost jobs, that have started on new career paths that aren't going to provide the same level of income or status, but that end up being more satisfying. The concept of being part of a community is very, very key to longevity and the quality of one's life. It's a very important theme in The Fountain of Age, where I'm looking particularly at issues affecting older men and women.

So it's the two together, income and being involved in a meaningful way in a community that I see as being important. But to address the specific issue of equity, there's no doubt that income is the bottom line. (The Region)

Works Cited

Betty Friedan. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on November 30, 2001 http://www.edc.org/WomensEquity/women/friedan.htm

Judith Hennessee. A laundry list of unsavory facts. 'Betty Friedan: Her Life'. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on November 30, 2001 http://www.cnn.com/books/reviews/9903/29/Betty.salon/

Alan Wolfe. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on November 30, 2001 http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99sep/9909friedan.htm 

An interview with Betty Friedan: The Region, September 1994. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on November 30, 2001 http://minneapolisfed.org/pubs/region/94-09/int949.html


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