Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

Betty Friedan

Born: February 4, 1921 in Peoria, Illinois
Died: February 4, 2006 in Washington, DC

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Friedan was born and raised in Peoria.

Biography: 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.

  • Humanist of the Year 1975

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Betty Friedan on C-SPAN American Writers :
Betty Friedan on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

Beyond gender :
ISBN: 0943875846 OCLC: 37141259

Woodrow Wilson Center Press ; Washington, D.C. : ©1997.

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.

Fountain of age
ISBN: 0743299876 OCLC: 71891135

It changed my life :
ISBN: 0674468856 OCLC: 37854253

Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass : 1998.

Life so far
ISBN: 0684807890 OCLC: 43481794

Simon & Schuster, New York : 2000.

A portrait of the author of The Feminine Mystique takes readers from her lonely childhood and Smith College education through her years as a housewife and mother, to her founding of NOW and her efforts to keep the movement from becoming extremist.

Life so far /
ISBN: 0743299868 OCLC: 86574237

Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York : 2006.

At last Betty Friedan herself speaks about her life and career. With the same unsparing frankness that made The Feminine Mystique one of the most influential books of our era, Friedan looks back and tells us what it took -- and what it cost -- to change the world. Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, started the women's movement it sold more than four million copies and was recently named one of the one hundred most important books of the century. In Life So Far, Friedan takes us on an intimate journey through her life -- a lonely childhood in Peoria, Illinois salvation at Smith College her days as a labor reporter for a union newspaper in New York (from which she was dismissed when she became pregnant) unfulfilling and painful years as a suburban housewife finding great joy as a mother and writing The Feminine Mystique, which grew out of a survey of her Smith classmates and started it all. Friedan chronicles the secret underground of women in Washington, D.C., who drafted her in the early 1960s to spearhead an "NAACP" for women, and recounts the courage of many, including some Catholic nuns who played a brave part in those early days of NOW, the National Organization for Women. Friedan's feminist thinking, a philosophy of evolution, is reflected throughout her book. She recognized early that the women's movement would falter if institutions did not change to reflect the new realities of women's lives, and she fought to keep the movement practical and free of extremism, including "man-hating." She describes candidly the movement's political infighting that brought her to the point of legal action and resulted in a long breach with fellow leaders Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug. Friedan is frank about her twenty-two-year marriage to Carl Friedan, an advertising entrepreneur. She writes about the explosive cycle of drinking, arguing, and physical battering she endured and explores her prolonged inability to leave the marriage. (They are now friends and the grandparents of nine.) Friedan was not only pivotal in the founding of NOW, she was also the driving force behind the creation of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC), and the First Women's Bank and Trust Company. She made history by introducing the issue of sex discrimination as an argument against the ratification of a Supreme Court nominee. She convinced the Secretary General of the United Nations to declare 1975 the International Year of the Woman. In this volume, Friedan brings to extraordinary life her bold and contentious leadership in the movement. She lectures, writes, leads think tanks, and organizes women and men to work together in political, legal, and social battles on behalf of women's rights.--From publisher description.

  The feminine mystique
ISBN: 9780393346787 OCLC: 857218639

A fiftieth anniversary edition of the trailblazing women's reference shares anecdotes and interviews that were originally collected in the early 1960s to inspire women to develop their intellectual capabilities and reclaim lives beyond period conventions.

The feminine mystique /
ISBN: 0393322572 OCLC: 47623921

Norton, New York : 2001.

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. --publisher.

  The fountain of age /
ISBN: 0099164817 OCLC: 221408710

Vintage, London : 1994.

The second stage :
ISBN: 0674796551 OCLC: 37854254

Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. : 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."--BOOK JACKET.