"" That is what Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John Adams, a delegate to the Continental Congress, as the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia to form a new nation in March of 1776. She urged:.
Be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power in the hands of the Husbands. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation. .
The words of Abigail Adams, one of the earliest American advocates of women's rights, were prophetic. Over the centuries, there is no one in the women's movement more renowned or pervasive in her presence, or more long-lasting than Betty Friedan. Her bold novel, The Feminine Mystique, served as a catalyst and helped spur on the twentieth century women's movement, which then led to the establishment of lasting benefits for women today. She is known as a feminist and an important figurehead for women, a great influence on women's rights.
Betty Friedan was born Elizabeth Naomi Goldstein on February 4, 1921, in Peoria, Illinois. Friedan, her older sister, Amy Goldstein, and younger brother, Harry Goldstein, grew up in their parents' large redbrick house with a big front porch and a view of Bradley Park in the upper-middle-class area of Peoria called the Bluff. Friedan's father, Harry Goldstein, owned a jewelry store nicknamed the "Tiffany's of Peoria- and her mother Miriam was active in community affairs. Miriam Goldstein had wanted to attend the prestigious Smith College in Massachusetts, but her parents insisted that she attend the local college instead. Miriam Goldstein gave up her work as a society reporter for the Peoria newspaper to marry and have children (as was expected of women during the early decades of the twentieth century). She then demanded a grand way of life: hiring live-in servants, buying expensive clothes, and choosing expensive house décor.