Feminist pioneer Betty Friedan dies
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Betty Friedan, whose 1963 book “The
Feminine Mystique” helped inspire the modern feminist movement
and who co-founded the National Organization for Women, died on
Saturday on her 85th birthday, a relative said.
Friedan died at her home in Washington of congestive heart
failure, just before 3 p.m.(2000 GMT), her cousin Emily Bazelon
“For Betty, feminism was an aspect of humanism. And one of
her sons said this morning that she demonstrated that sheer
intelligence could trump lack of intelligence,” Bazelon said.
Friedan was born Bettye Naomi Goldstein in Peoria,
Illinois, and attended Smith College, a leading women’s college
in Massachusetts, where she edited a campus paper and graduated
with honors in 1942. She attended the University of California,
Berkeley for a year before working as a journalist. In 1947,
she married Carl Friedan, a marriage that lasted 20 years and
produced three children.
“The Feminine Mystique” emerged from an article about a
survey she conducted of fellow graduates at Smith and focused
on the restrictions on women of the role of full-time
homemaker. It became a best-seller and helped invigorate the
women’s movement and U.S. feminism.
Friedan co-founded the National Organization for Women,
with Pauli Murray, the first African-American female Episcopal
priest and served as its first president from 1966 to 1970.
She also helped found NARAL, originally the National
Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws.
Her other books included “The Second Stage, It Changed My
Life: Writings on the Women’s Movement,” and “The Fountain of
She is survived by two sons and a daughter, nine
grandchildren, a brother and a sister. Her funeral is planned
for 11 a.m. on Monday at Riverside Funeral Chapel in New York.