50 Years: The Legacy of The Feminine Mystique

Did you know The Feminine Mystique turns 50 tomorrow?

On Feb. 19, 1963, Betty Friedan's game-changing book, The Feminine Mystique, was published, bringing to light the discontent she saw bubbling beneath the surface among 1950s and 60s housewives -- or as she wrote: "the problem that has no name."

With more than 3 million copies sold worldwide,The Feminine Mystique helped spur the modern women's movement into motion by igniting women to see gender equality as a must. In fact, in 1966, MAKER Marlo Thomas convinced ABC to produce the first network television show about a single and independent young woman by handing the head of the network a copy of The Feminine Mystique and explaining that this is where the world is heading. The show became the hit series That Girl

In response to a lack of action in Washington to address gender discrimination, other pioneering women empowered by The Feminine Mystique gathered in 1966 to form the National Organization for Women (NOW) with one very clear goal-- "to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men." Friedan became NOW's first president and served for three years.

Over the last five decades, Friedan's landmark book has made a lasting impression on the women's movement by changing the way women see their place in the world. 

Tune into PBS on Tuesday February 26, 2013 at 8:00 PM EST (check your local listings) to watch  "MAKERS: Women Who Make America" and learn more about one of the most sweeping social revolutions in America's history, as over the past 50 years, women asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy. 


Photo credit: National Organization For Women