Betty Friedan Second Wave Feminism

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Seventy seven cents. That trivial sum is the amount of money a woman makes for every one dollar that a man makes in the United States (“Women in the Labor Force”). To this day, women are fighting for equality with men. However, their current burden is softened due to the “f word”, or feminism, and the work done by the women of the 1960s. This work brought about the second wave feminism that began in the early 1960s and continued into the late 1980s. Many times when people hear about this era they think about the civil rights movements, the anti-war movement or the freedom of speech movement. They forget, or do not know, that this was an important time for females in the United States. Nevertheless, second wave feminism was a particularly crucial…show more content…
This unification was a long time coming; however, the writing of the Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan is the final piece of feminist literature they needed to start a sort of revolution. Friedan’s book was written in 1963 and it “decried the prevailing culture’s feminine mystique that was encouraging women to give up their individual aspirations and seek complete fulfillment through the achievements of their husbands and sons” (Coontz 16). The perfect nuclear family, which consisted of a woman as the housewife, was deconstructed. The dreams and hopes of the woman were given back to her. Friedan’s book caused women to talk to each other about the social injustices being done to them by society and its culture. This book did not spark the second wave feminist on its own; however, Friedan’s book did give the prodding needed by many women to realize they were not unaccompanied in their…show more content…
However, it was not an easy battle. Women were at an extreme disadvantage since they only made up about 30% of the workforce in the 1960s (“Women in the Labor Force”). Also, according to Coontz, “the average female college graduate working full-time, year-round, earned less than the average male high school graduate. Men were guaranteed access to the best jobs” (16). Women were not given an equal chance at securing jobs that they were qualified for. Men were desired, while female workers were avoided albeit being able to do better work. Women were earning about sixty cents for every dollar that their male counterpart was making (“Women in the Labor Force”). That was a little bit over half what a man in the same job was making. Therefore, if a man made $20,000 a year, a woman would only make a little over $10,000 a year for the same job. The inequality was apparent. However, things began to slowly change. In 1963, the women had won a huge victory. Their efforts helped to get the Equal Pay Act signed by John F. Kennedy. This act was the first step in getting equal pay for women. Additionally, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a part of the civil rights movement, was put into law. This act helped the causes of African Americans, but it also helped women in their fight against discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act “forbade

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