Betty Friedan has been central to the reshaping of American attitudes toward women’s lives and rights. Through decades of social activism, strategic thinking and powerful writing, Friedan is one of contemporary society’s most effective leaders.
Friedan’s l963 book, The Feminine Mystique, detailed the frustrating lives of countless American women who were expected to find fulfillment primarily through the achievements of husbands and children. The book made an enormous impact, triggering a period of change that continues today.
Friedan was central to this evolution for women, through lectures and writing (It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women’s Movement in 1976 and The Second Stage in 1981). She was a founder of the National Organization for Women, a convener of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and a key leader in the struggle for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Friedan published The Fountain of Aging in 1993 and was co-chair of Women, Men and Media, a gender-based research organization that conducts research on gender and the media. She remained active in politics and advocacy for the rest of her life.