Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Betty Friedan  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Audience: Adult;

Born: February 4, 1921 in Peoria, Illinois

Died: February 4, 2006 in Washington, DC


-- Betty Friedan on C-SPAN American Writers -- http://www.americanwriters.org/writers/friedan.asp
-- Wikipedia -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Friedan
-- Betty Friedan on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=betty+friedan


Illinois Connection

Friedan was born and raised in Peoria.

Biographical and Professional Information

Betty Friedan was born Betty Naomi Goldstein. She was a feminist organizer and the co-founder of NOW - the National Organization for Women - and its first president serving from 1966 - 1970. She was educated in psychology at Smith College and the University of California at Berkeley. She worked as a journalist, teacher and lecturer. ''The Feminine Mystique'' is considered a basic document of the feminist movement.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Feminine Mystique
ISBN: 0393322572

W. W. Norton & Company. 2001

The book that changed the consciousness of a country―and the world.

Landmark, groundbreaking, classic―these adjectives barely describe the earthshaking and long-lasting effects of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. This is the book that defined "the problem that has no name," that launched the Second Wave of the feminist movement, and has been awakening women and men with its insights into social relations, which still remain fresh, ever since. A national bestseller, with over 1 million copies sold.

It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women's Movement
ISBN: 0674468856

Harvard University Press. 1998

"It Changed My Life." That's what Betty Friedan heard over and over from women throughout the United States, after the publication of her radical best-seller, The Feminine Mystique, sparked the beginning of contemporary feminism. The first stirring and uncertain years of the women's movement helped many women put a name to the sense of invisibility, powerlessness, and depression that Friedan famously called "the problem that has no name."

First published in 1976, "It Changed My Life" is a compellingly readable collection of reports from the front, back in the days less than a generation ago when women were routinely shut out of the professions and higher education, underpaid, condescended to, and harassed without consequences to the harassers. The book describes the political campaigns for equal pay and job opportunities, for the outlawing of sex discrimination, for the Equal Rights Amendment, and for legalized abortion, the creation of National Organization for Women, the National Abortion Rights Action League, and the National Women's Political Caucus, and analyzes the antifeminist backlashes. Encounters with Simone de Beauvoir and Indira Gandhi are juxtaposed with moving and vivid personal struggles of many ordinary women. Among those women was Friedan herself, who frankly recorded her astonishment, gratification, and anger as the movement she helped create grew beyond all her hopes, and then raced beyond her control into a sexual politics she found disturbing.

A classic of modern feminism, "It Changed My Life" brings back years of struggle for those who were there, and recreates the past for the readers of today who were not yet born during these struggles for the opportunities and respect to which women can now feel entitled. In changing women's lives, the women's movement has changed everything.

The Second Stage: With a New Introduction
ISBN: 0674796551

Harvard University Press. 1998

First published in 1981, The Second Stage is eerily prescient and timely, a reminder that much of what is called new thinking in feminism has been eloquently observed and argued before. Warning the women's movement against dissolving into factionalism, male-bashing, and preoccupation with sexual and identity politics rather than bottom-line political and economic inequalities, Friedan argues that once past the initial phases of describing and working against political and economic injustices, the women's movement should focus on working with men to remake private and public arrangements that work against full lives with children for women and men both. Friedan's agenda to preserve families is far more radical than it appears, for she argues that a truly equitable preservation of marriage and family may require a reorganization of many aspects of conventional middle-class life, from the greater use of flex time and job-sharing, to company-sponsored daycare, to new home designs to permit communal housekeeping and cooking arrangements.

Called "utopian" fifteen years ago, when it seemed unbelievable that women had enough power in the workplace to make effective demands, or that men would join them, some of these visions are slowly but steadily coming to pass even now. The problem Friedan identifies is as real now as it was years ago: "how to live the equality we fought for," and continue to fight for, with "the family as new feminist frontier." She writes not only for women's liberation but for human liberation.

The Fountain Of Age
ISBN: 0099164817

Vintage. 1994

The author of the ground-breaking work, The Feminine Mystique, tackles the meaning of age and aging in contemporary society, for both men and women. 250,000 first printing. BOMC Feat Alt. QPB Split Main. First serial, Time. Tour.

Beyond Gender: The New Politics of Work and Family
ISBN: 0943875846

Woodrow Wilson Center Press. 1997

"A basic restructuring of our economy is needed now," writes Betty Friedan in her latest book, Beyond Gender. "And this restructuring can't be accomplished in terms of women versus men, black versus white, old versus young, conservative versus liberal. We need a new political movement in America that puts the lives and interests of people first. It can't be done by separate, single-issue movements now, and it has to be political to protect and translate our new empowerment with a new vision of community, with new structures of community that open the doors again to real equality of opportunity."

As the author of The Feminine Mystique and head of the National Organization for Women, Betty Friedan helped spark a movement that revolutionized the fight for equal rights and opportunities for women. Now, in Beyond Gender, Friedan argues that the old solutions no longer work. The time has come, she contends, for women and men to move forward from identity politics and gender-based, single-issue political activism. Without yielding on particular women's issues, she calls for a "paradigm shift"―a transformation of the intellectual and political structure within which those issues are viewed.

Friedan's "new paradigm" embraces the entire world of work, family, and community, where some of the most crucial questions of 1990s America have been raised. To explore them, Friedan initiated a conversation among policy experts, scholars, corporate and labor leaders, journalists, and political thinkers. Guiding their conversation with her own reflections, Friedan explores the social anxiety caused by corporate downsizing and displacement of middle-aged male employees―including the impact on working wives who suddenly become their family's sole provider. She confronts the expansion of part-time and temporary work due to outsourcing, which disproportionately affects women workers. She describes the loss of community life and community space in the fast-paced, consumption-oriented suburbs. And she discusses the breakdown of family structure in many parts of American society.

Beyond Gender combines enthusiasm, curiosity, scholarship, and practical expertise as it revisits the relations among jobs, home, and society. Once again, Betty Friedan has challenged her readers to rethink the context within which they view both the relations of the sexes and the relations of the marketplace.

Life So Far: A Memoir
ISBN: 0743299868

Simon & Schuster. 2006

It was Betty Freidan herself, in Life So Far, who spoke about her life and career and told us what it was all like from the inside. With the unsparing frankness that made The Feminine Mystique one of the most influential books of the century, Friedan looked back and told us what it took, and what it cost, to change the world. She took us on an intimate journey through her life, from her lonely childhood to the founding of NOW and her brilliant, contentious, and brave leadership of the Movement.

Life So Far chronicles the secret underground of women in Washington in the early sixties who drafted Friedan to spearhead an "NAACP" for women, and the daring of many who spoke out against discrimination. Friedan recounts the political infighting and dirty tricks that occurred within the Movement as well as the forces that tried to destroy it and how hard she fought to keep the Movement practical and free of extremism, including "man-hating." Friedan is equally frank about her twenty-two-year marriage to an advertising entrepreneur, which deteriorated into physical abuse. They later reconciled as friends.

Life So Far is forthright, full of stories and larger-than-life characters, and it is the scope of Friedan's vision and achievements that makes her memoir so important and compelling.


Awards

Humanist of the Year 1975