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Success and Solitude: Feminist Organizations Fifty Years After The Feminine Mystique

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In the early 1960s, a wife, mother, and activist asked, "Is this all?" and the second wave of feminism was born. The Feminine Mystique marshaled support for women's causes, particularly among white, suburban homemakers who were educated but intellectually frustrated. Through the National Organization for Women, Betty Friedan and her colleagues aimed their message to both t In the early 1960s, a wife, mother, and activist asked, "Is this all?" and the second wave of feminism was born. The Feminine Mystique marshaled support for women's causes, particularly among white, suburban homemakers who were educated but intellectually frustrated. Through the National Organization for Women, Betty Friedan and her colleagues aimed their message to both the frustrated homemaker and the employed middle-class woman. Thousands of grassroots and national organizations emerged as a sizable powerhouse for women's rights. Organizational membership grew, laws were passed, public policy acquiesced, and women entered academia, the workplace, and politics in dramatic fashion over only a few decades. Where is the Women's Movement today, a half century later? The answer is deeply rooted in the health and vitality of the organizations that comprise the national movement. Many women are now successful, but feminist organizations find themselves in solitude, nearly fifty years following The Feminine Mystique. In Success and Solitude, the women's movement as a national social movement is critiqued and analyzed at an organizational level.


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In the early 1960s, a wife, mother, and activist asked, "Is this all?" and the second wave of feminism was born. The Feminine Mystique marshaled support for women's causes, particularly among white, suburban homemakers who were educated but intellectually frustrated. Through the National Organization for Women, Betty Friedan and her colleagues aimed their message to both t In the early 1960s, a wife, mother, and activist asked, "Is this all?" and the second wave of feminism was born. The Feminine Mystique marshaled support for women's causes, particularly among white, suburban homemakers who were educated but intellectually frustrated. Through the National Organization for Women, Betty Friedan and her colleagues aimed their message to both the frustrated homemaker and the employed middle-class woman. Thousands of grassroots and national organizations emerged as a sizable powerhouse for women's rights. Organizational membership grew, laws were passed, public policy acquiesced, and women entered academia, the workplace, and politics in dramatic fashion over only a few decades. Where is the Women's Movement today, a half century later? The answer is deeply rooted in the health and vitality of the organizations that comprise the national movement. Many women are now successful, but feminist organizations find themselves in solitude, nearly fifty years following The Feminine Mystique. In Success and Solitude, the women's movement as a national social movement is critiqued and analyzed at an organizational level.

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