Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan has been a central figure in the resurgence of the modern women’s movement and the reshaping of American attitudes towards women’s rights and social roles. She is a founder of NOW, National Women’s Political Caucus, and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Her 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, set off shock waves around the country and is now regarded as the catalytic work of Second Wave feminism. The book, which identified what Friedan called “the problem that has no name,” detailed the frustration and despair of middle-class American women who were told they should find fulfillment primarily through the achievements of husbands and children. The book helped women realize that the problems they perceived as personal failings were part of larger social problems shared by others.