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Betty Friedan

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Main PagePortal Persons → Betty Friedan

Lived February 4, 1921-February 4, 2006
Spouse Carl Friedan (1947–69; divorced)

Betty Friedan (1921-2006) was an American writer, activist and feminist.

A leading figure in the women's movement in the United States, her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique[wp] is often credited with sparking the second wave[wp] of American feminism in the 20th century. In 1966, Friedan founded and was elected the first president of the National Organization for Women[wp] (NOW), which aimed to bring women "into the mainstream of American society now [in] fully equal partnership with men". Later in February 1969 she, along with Lawrence Lader and Bernard Nathanson, was one of the founders of the pro-abortion group NARAL.

Regarded as an influential author and intellectual in the United States, Friedan remained active in politics and advocacy for the rest of her life, authoring six books. As early as the 1960s Friedan was critical of polarized and extreme factions of feminism that attacked groups such as men and homemakers. One of her later books, The Second Stage (1981), critiqued what Friedan saw as the extremist excesses of some feminists who could be broadly classified as gender feminists.

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