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Leader of feminist movement recovering from heart surgery

September 19, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Betty Friedan, the woman who jolted the nation more than three decades ago by urging women to abandon homemaker stereotypes to pursue their own interests, was in serious but stable condition today after heart surgery.

Surgeons at Washington Hospital Center replaced a failed aortic valve in Friedan, 76, on Wednesday, said hospital spokeswoman Lisa Wolfington. In the last two days, her condition has improved from critical to serious, she added.

It was not known when Friedan would be released from the hospital, but there were no more surgeries scheduled, Wolfington said. It typically takes six to eight weeks to recover from such a procedure.

Friedan’s 1963 book ``The Feminine Mystique″ dismissed the notion that women need children and a husband to be happy _ a shocking thesis for a conservative America. The best-seller is largely credited for sparking the feminist movement in America.

Three years later, Friedan founded the National Organization for Women, where she continued her campaign for female individuality and equality.

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