Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique”: 50 Years Later

Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique”: 50 Years Later     

The Feminine Mystique

Sunday, 17 February 2013 – By Peter Dreier, Truthout | Historical Analysis

The Feminine Mystique – published on February 19, 1963 -“catalyzed the modern feminist movement, helped forever change Americans’ attitudes about women’s role in society and catapulted its author into becoming an influential and controversial public figure.”

Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, identified the “problem that has no name” – which feminists later labeled “sexism.” Three years after its publication – 50 years ago this month – Friedan was instrumental in organizing the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other key groups that helped build the movement for women’s equality.

The Feminine Mystique was not only a best-selling book, but also a manifesto for change.Most Americans now accept as normal the once-radical ideas that Friedan and others espoused.

Today, most Americans, including men, believe that women should earn the same pay as men if they do the same job. Corporations, law firms, the media, universities, advertising, the military, sports and other core institutions can no longer exercise blatant sex discrimination without facing scrutiny and the risk of protest and lawsuits. The Obama administration just lifted the ban on women in combat. Women are now running corporations, newspapers and TV stations, universities and major labor unions. In 1960, only about six percent of medical students were women. Today women comprise about half of all medical students and have a stronger foothold in other formerly all-male professions and occupations.   [more]

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