Betty Friedan was born as Betty Naomi Goldstein in Peoria, Illinois on February 3, 1921. When she was 17, she graduated from high school and soon after, she attended Smith College. She graduated in 1942 with a degree in psychology. She was offered a scholarship to receive her Ph. D. in 1944, but she declined the offer, moving to New York City and working as a workers' press reporter.
It was there in New York City that Betty noticed the workplace discrimination, especially the discrimination against women. In 1947, she married a Soldier Show Corporation actor named Carl Friedan and together they had a child. When Betty was pregnant with her second child in 1949, she was fired from her job at the workers' press because she had asked for maternity leave for her second child. Instead, Betty became a full-time wife and mother. It was through this experience that she realized that it was a myth that women were satisfied being only housewives and mothers. She decided to survey other female graduates of Smith College, and she discovered that many other women were unsatisfied as well.
Taking action, Betty wrote an article on how women felt about the issue and strived to get it published, but all the publishers were male and none would print it. Nonetheless, Betty did not give up. She made her article into a book called The Feminine Mystique. When it was finally published, it sold over 3 million copies. After that, Betty toured the country and lectured on her ideas in the women's movement. She met with women in Washington and created the "first major structure of the women's movement": NOW, the National Organization for Women, which was founded in 1966. She became its first president, wanting women to be present in society's mainstream and to have full equality.
In 1970, Betty resigned from office, choosing to concentrate more on political reform, writing, and teaching, which she still does to this day.