More than 225 people turned out at the Peoria Riverfront Museum to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ‘The Feminine Mystique’. The book written by Peoria native Betty Friedan, is thought to have started the women's rights movement in the 1960's.
Seven Peoria women of note in the community spoke to how the book and it’s social implications have shaped or changed their lives.
Jonelle Polk McLoud manages the Proctor Recreation Center and is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. She says the book led to Title IX, that made possible her basketball scholarship to the U of I, a professional basketball career and allowed her to coach college ball for 10 years.
Polk McCloud: “
Rabbi Karen Bogard is the first female Rabbi in Central Illinois. She is also the Rabbi of the synagog Betty Friedan grew up in. Rabbi Bogart says in 1972 Sally Priesand rode the waves Friedan helped create to become the first woman Rabbi in the U-S.
Bogard: “In 2011, when I was ordained my class of 45 people had 35 women. Now, don’t hear me saying our journey is complete. I think we can all agree, a world in which a woman makes 77 cents for every dollar a man makes for doing the exact same job, is a world that is yet to live up to Betty’s dream.”
The Feminine Mystique was Friedan’s first book. It sold more than two million copies and is thought to be the launching pad for the National Organization for Women. Friedan was the first president of the N.O.W. organization.