Betty Friedan

Finding Friedan in Barcelona

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It was August of 1970, and a group of 50,000 women marched proudly together in New York, marking the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Betty Friedan, a feminist activist, organized the event and was asked to address the crowd. At one moment during the march, she recounted, she suddenly found herself quoting a Hebrew prayer: “Down through the generations in history, my ancestor prayed, ‘I thank Thee, Lord, I was not created a woman’. From this day forward women all over the world will be able to say, ‘I thank Thee, Lord, I was created a woman.’” Later, she explained that she was surprised that she drew upon Jewish text when expressing feminist ideas.

At that very moment, two of Friedan’s worlds collided—her Jewish and feminist worlds. The biblical quote connected the two—and ultimately created one powerful experience.

Planting the seed: Memories of "The Feminine Mystique"

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The Feminine Mystique

There’s a lot of buzz these days about Stephanie Coontz’s new book A Strong Stirring, an assessment of Betty Friedans’s 1963 manifesto The Feminine Mystique. It’s stirring up some personal memories of my own.

Better than Valentine's Day: Three things to celebrate instead!

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Valentine's Day Someecard

In case you haven't heard, today is Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day isn't really a Jewish holiday, but since it's a "Hallmark holiday," it's for everyone. Lucky you! 

While some folks enjoy Valentine's Day (all the power to them!), many do not. As Jill of Feministe reminds us, many people like to project all their insecurities and issues onto Valentine's Day. Of course, it's easy to understand why this happens -- thanks to the barrage of messages about love and cuteness on display. 

50 Most Influential Progressives of the 20th Century - Who else?

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The Nation recently published a list of the 50 Most Influential Progressives of the Twentieth Century. As JSpot noted, 5 are Jewish. Two of those are women: Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.

Women Strike for Equality -- Then and Now

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Thirty-eight years ago today, thousands of women nation-wide responded to Jewish feminist Betty Friedan's call for a Women's Strike for Equality. In addition to a huge march down New York's 5th Avenue, women around the country demonstrated in support of three main goals: free abortion on demand, free 24-hour community-controlled child care centers, and equal opportunity in jobs and education.

Happy Birthday, NOW!

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Forty years ago today, the National Organization for Women (NOW), was founded in Betty Friedan’s hotel room in Washington, DC. Friedan and the 26 other founders were frustrated by the unwillingness of the National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women to take any meaningful action against the well-documented widespread discrimination against women.

Rising Voices

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