Betty Friedan

American housewives have not had their brains shot away, nor are they schizophrenic in the clinical sense. But if … the fundamental human drive is not the urge for pleasure or the satisfaction of biological needs, but the need to grow and to realize one’s full potential, their comfortable, empty, purposeless days are indeed cause for a nameless terror.

There needs to be bolder thinking, … on how to measure the quality of life of men and women in the work force. Currently, success is measured by material advancements. We need to readjust the definition of success to account for time outside of work and satisfaction of life, not just the dollars-and-cents bottom line.

Strange new problems are being reported in the growing generations of children whose mothers were always there, driving them around, helping them with their homework –an inability to endure pain or discipline or pursue any self-sustained goal of any sort, a devastating boredom with life.

What had really caused the women’s movement was the additional years of human life. At the turn of the century women’s life expectancy was forty-six; now it was nearly eighty. Our groping sense that we couldn’t live all those years in terms of motherhood alone was “the problem that had no name.” Realizing that it was not some freakish personal fault but our common problem as women had enabled us to take the first steps to change our lives.