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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 February 2006, 22:42 GMT
US feminist Friedan dies aged 85
Betty Friedan in New York in 2004
Friedan had campaigned for abortion and equal pay for women
One of the leading lights of America's post-war feminist movement, Betty Friedan, has died at the age of 85.

She died of congestive heart failure, her cousin, Emily Bazelon, said.

She was best known for her book "The Feminine Mystique" (1963), which said women were not necessarily fulfilled by their roles of housewives and mothers.

In 1966, she went on to found America's National Organization for Women (NOW), which campaigned for full equality, and became its first president.

In her best-selling book, Friedan had argued that the feminine mystique was a phoney bill of goods society sold to women, leaving them unfulfilled.

"A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, 'Who am I, and what do I want out of life?'"

"She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children," Friedan wrote.

As a founder and first president of Now, Friedan had campaigned for abortion, equal pay and promotion and maternity leave - positions that seemed extreme at the time.

However, she had wanted her movement to remain in the mainstream and had opposed "equating feminism with lesbianism".

Friedan was born on 4 February 1921 in Peoria, Illinois.

She graduated with top honours from Smith College in 1942, and then spent a year doing graduate work in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

She left Berkeley to work as a reporter.

In 1947, she married Carl Friedan, with whom she had three children. The marriage ended in divorce after 22 years.


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