Betty Friedan's Biography
Betty Friedan was born on February 4, 1921 in Peoria, Illinois. Her original name was Betty Naomi Goldstein. She was born a year after women won the right to vote. Betty was the first of Harry and Miriam Goldstein's three children. Her father was a Russian Jewish immigrant who sold jewelry and her mother was a newspaperwomen. Harry and Miriam taught Betty to do her best in everything she did. When she grew up, she was a very self confident, bright young women with dreams of going to college and having a family.
At the age of 17, Betty graduated from high school and was accepted into Smith College in Massachusetts. In her 4 years there, she improved her writing skills and got interested in psychology, which she chose as her major. She graduated from Smith College in 1942 with a degree in psychology. In 1943, Betty moved to the west to attend The University of California in Berkeley.
4 years later in 1947, she met Carl Friedan. He was an Actor returning from the Soldier Show Company in Europe. Carl was planning to start a summer theatre in New Jersey. The two fell in love and got married. Shortly after they had their first son, Daniel. Around 1949, Betty had Jonathan. When the family moved to the suburbs, their third child Emily was born. Much later in 1969, Carl and Betty divorced.
As Betty Friedan lived her life as a housewife, she started to think about wives and their roles as homemakers and that it was unusual for them to want a career separate from the family. In 1956, she sent out questions to her Smith College graduates about the roles of housewives. After nearly a decade of living life as a housewife, she felt incomplete.