1960s The Feminine Mystique

When Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published in 1963, millions of American women had become uneasy under the constraints of 1950s post-war culture. The Feminine Mystique was, in the words of one reviewer, “a brick through the rose colored picture window of the American suburban bungalow.” The book arrived just as national politicians were discovering the issue of women’s rights but groups of women grew tired of waiting for politicians to act and a new organization arose, the National Organization for Women (NOW), with Friedan as its president.

At the same time, another group of women — younger and more radical — were emerging from the anti-war and civil rights movements determined to achieve their own revolution in American society. Drawing on personal experiences and stories these young women jumped from campus to campus and city to city, coining the phrase “the personal is political.” Their tactics and radical expression repelled many Americans and distanced them from NOW as a new face emerged as a leader – Gloria Steinem. Eventually these two streams of women would converge to create the modern Women’s Movement.

Other pivotal moments of the decade range from the early legal challenges brought by flight attendants and a rural Georgia telephone operator to protests at the Miss America pageant and the takeover of the offices of Ladies Home Journal to Katherine Switzer’s groundbreaking run at the 1967 Boston Marathon.

Boston Marathon Boston Marathon

In 1967 Kathrine Switzer ran in the Boston Marathon.

Boston Marathon Gloria Steinem

Get to know Gloria Steinem.

Southern Bell Southern Bell

NOW tackled job discrimination at Southern Bell

Southern Bell Flight Attendants

Airlines had strict rules as to what the 'ideal' flight attendants should look like.

Learn more about the MAKERS:

Visit MAKERS.com

Watch MAKERS online

Bring MAKERS to the classroom