Betty Friedan: The Most Influential Female Writer Prior To 1980

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For women, equality was not something easily achieved. Through long years, feminine activists have suffered devastating setbacks, and accomplished significant milestones as well. Monumental efforts to actualize such milestones were made by writer and activist Betty Friedan. Most prominent during the Second Wave of the feminist movement, during the 1960s and lasting through the 1980s, she is accredited with inspiring women across the country and writing one of the most powerful books of the twentieth century (“Betty”). Betty Friedan is the most influential female writer prior to 1980 due to the social changes brought about through her writing, most significantly The Feminine Mystique, and political activism for women’s fulfillment and civil rights. Betty Friedan’s writing was her first achievement for women’s rights. Friedan’s most acclaimed work, The Feminine Mystique is recognized for starting the modern feminist movement. Published in 1963, her book was directly influenced by the decade preceding its publication (Kasindorf 5). American society during the 1950s placed women in a domestic position, encouraging marriage and childbirth while discouraging employment. After studying labor statistics from across the country, Friedan discovered that only half of adult women worked forty hours or less a week outside the home in 1950 (Ash 20). Of women who worked, wages were not equal to a man’s. On average, a woman was paid sixty-five percent of a man’s earnings for the same job. Furthermore, at the time there was an overwhelming majority of men in the political, executive business, legal, and medical professions supplementing women’s difficulty in the workplace. As a result, Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique to describe the discrimination taking place against women and to expose popular opinion of women’s role in society. She described the meaning behind

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