Friedan, Betty (1921–2006)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Friedan, Betty (1921–2006)

American writer and feminist. Name variations: Bettye. Pronunciation: FREE-dan. Born Bettye Naomi Goldstein on Feb 4, 1921, in Peoria, Illinois; died Feb 4, 2006, in Washington, DC; dau. of Harry Goldstein (died 1943) and Miriam Horwitz (died 1988); Smith College, BA in psychology, 1942, with honors; attended graduate school at University of California at Berkeley for one year; m. Carl Friedan, June 1947 (div. 1969); children: Daniel Friedan (b. 1948); Jonathon Friedan (b. 1952); Emily Friedan (b. 1956).

Author of The Feminine Mystique, the book that launched the feminist movement in the US, who fought for equal rights for women and founded the National Organization for Women (NOW); moved to New York City after father's death (1943); published The Feminine Mystique (1963), which turned the world upside down; founded NOW (1966) and became its 1st president; planned and helped organize the historic March for Women's Equality (1970); wrote It Changed My Life (1976), followed by The Second Stage (1981); served as head of unofficial NOW delegation to final UN Conference for Women in Kenya and accepted an offer from University of Southern California to be joint visiting professor at the School of Journalism and Women's Studies (1985); published The Fountain of Age (1993).

See also Sondra Henry and Emily Taitz, Betty Friedan: Fighter for Women's Rights (Enslow, 1990); Judith Hennessee, Betty Friedan: Her Life (Random House, 1999); and Women in World History.