The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace
Description of this Book
Through the story of a groundbreaking, largely-forgotten 1970 sex discrimination suit against Newsweek in which she participated, an award-winning journalist illuminates how women in media came to challenge the Mad Men office culture of the times. On March 16, 1970, Newsweek magazine hit the newsstands with a cover story on the fledgling feminist movement entitled Women in Revolt . The bright yellow cover pictured a naked woman in red silhouette thrusting her fist through a broken female sex symbol. But the text inside made no mention of the fact that, for the first time in its history, Newsweek's editors had commissioned an outsider to write the story. The editors recognized that having a man write a women's lib cover would seem off-key, but they didn't think that the lone female senior writer among the 51 writers on staff could do the job. The lead-in to the story was this: A new specter is haunting America - the specter of militant feminism. On that same day, 46 female employees of Newsweek announced that they'd filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging that they'd been systematically discriminated against in both hiring and promotion and forced to assume a subsidiary role simply because they were women. Lynn Povich was one of the 46. It was the first time professional women in the media had sued for sex discrimination and the story, irresistibly timed to the Newsweek cover, was picked up around the world. In the following weeks and months, women would file similar suits or engage in publicity-generating protests against sex discrimination at Time , Life , Fortune and Sports Illustrated ; The Ladies Home Journal ; The Reader's Digest , Newsday , The Washington Post and the Associated Press . In the mid 1970s, women at The New York Times and NBC would join the fray. In The Good Girls Revolt Povich tells the story not just of the 1970 suit, but of the experiences, events, and cultural shifts that led to it; and its impact on the lives of the women who brought it and those they worked with. Like Mad Men , the popular TV series on life at an advertising agency in the 1960s, Povich's tale brings to life the legal and cultural limits for women who came of age in that era, and illuminates how barriers began to fall. But Povich also explores what has and hasn't changed for working women in the years since the suit, and shows that young women today face many of the same injustices she and her colleagues fought against 40 years ago. Legal principles are not the only impediment to power; the work of feminism is not finished.
By: Lynn Povich