Betty Friedan

(1921—2006) American feminist and writer

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(b. 4 Feb. 1921, d. 4 Feb 2006).

US feminist Born in Peoria, Illinois, her first book, The Feminine Mystique (1963), is seen as marking the beginning of the second wave of feminism in America (Women's movement). A suburban mother of three who had graduated from Smith University some twenty years before, Friedan's frustrations and insights struck a chord with women across the USA. The book criticized what Friedan saw as a concerted campaign, since the end of World War II, to convince American women that they could only achieve happiness through marriage and motherhood. It was this ‘happy homemaker’ ideology that was the ‘feminine mystique’. In contrast to Simone de Beauvoir in France, Friedan was highly practical. She founded the National Organisation of Women in 1966, and was its first president until 1970. Two of her subsequent books deal with feminism and the women's movement, It Changed My Life (1976) and The Second Stage (1981). She won numerous awards, including the Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Award in 1989.

Subjects: Literature — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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