May 1, 1997
Vol. 16, No. 16

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    Legendary feminist leader Friedan to visit

    Will give lecture, meet with students as Kovler Fellow

    Feminist movement pioneer Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique and a founder of the National Organization for Women, will present the lecture "Feminism: Past, Present and Future" during her two-day visit to the University as a Marjorie Kovler Visiting Fellow.

    The lecture will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, in Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. After the lecture, she will sign copies of her books.

    While at the University, Friedan will attend classes and meet informally with students and faculty.

    Friedan is the Distinguished Professor of Social Evolution at Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C., and an adjunct scholar at the Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution. In addition to The Feminine Mystique (1963), Friedan is the author of The Fountain of Age (1993), The Second Stage (1981) and It Changed My Life (1976), as well as numerous magazine articles. She is currently working on her autobiography, to be published by Simon & Schuster in 1998.

    After receiving her A.B. from Smith College in 1942 and doing graduate work at the University of California-Berkeley, Friedan worked as a journalist in New York City. She left the work force in 1947 to marry and raise children. Her unhappiness as a suburban middle-class housewife for the next 10 years led her to write The Feminine Mystique, which challenged the theory that women could only be fulfilled through their roles as wives and mothers. The book, an instant bestseller, was widely excerpted in women's magazines and made Friedan a celebrity.

    Friedan co-founded the National Organization for Women in 1966 and was its first president. She became a strong force in the emerging women's movement, organizing the Women's Strike for Equality in 1970 and convening the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971.

    She won the Humanist of the Year award in 1975, was the first recipient of the American Society of Journalists and Authors' Mort Weisinger Award for Outstanding Magazine Journalism in 1979 and received the Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Award in 1989.

    Friedan has been a visiting scholar at many universities and think tanks around the country, including Yale, Columbia, the Kennedy School of Government and the Woodrow Wilson Institute for International Scholars in Washington, D.C.

    The Marjorie Kovler Visiting Fellows program is designed to encourage interaction between students at Chicago and prominent individuals in the arts and public affairs. Past fellows include Robert Redford, Kurt Vonnegut and Rep. Pat Schroeder.