Jacqueline Jules

Betty’s Book

Do you remember? All-male colleges,
want-ads with gender headings,
TV women confined to aprons
or behind a secretary’s desk.

Suffragists won the vote in 1920
but few choices beyond wife and mother.

Women waited for 1963
and Betty Friedan to ask
why changing a diaper
disqualified a woman
from changing the law.

They waited for Betty to see
the problem without a name.
To confirm that conformity
was mistake not mystique.

Betty’s book became a bible,
held against the heart
as women all over the world
untied aprons and demanded
options never offered before.

Betty Friedan (February 4, 1921 – February 4, 2006) published 6 books, but it was her first, The Feminine Mystique (1963), that was her most influential, often credited with spurring the development of the second wave of feminism in the United States. Friedan co-founded the National Organization for Women (1966), established the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (1969, now known as NARAL Pro-Choice America), and co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus (1971). She lived in DC from 1994 until her death in 2006.


Jacqueline Jules is the author of three books of poems: Itzhak Perlman's Broken String (Evening Street Press, 2017),Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications, 2014), and the chapbook Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in Inkwell, Little Patuxent Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Gargoyle, and Potomac Review. In addition, she has published 35 books for young readers including Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain (Wisdom Tales, 2014), winner of an Aesop Accolade from the American Folklore Society and finalist in the 2014 National Jewish Book Awards. Jules is a former school librarian and lives in Arlington, VA. http://www.jacquelinejules.com/