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The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplaceby Lynn Povich
Synopses & Reviews
It was the 1960s––a time of economic boom and social strife. Young women poured into the workplace, but the “Help Wanted” ads were segregated by gender and the “Mad Men” office culture was rife with sexual stereotyping and discrimination.
Lynn Povich was one of the lucky ones, landing a job at Newsweek, renowned for its cutting-edge coverage of civil rights and the “Swinging Sixties.” Nora Ephron, Jane Bryant Quinn, Ellen Goodman, and Susan Brownmiller all started there as well. It was a top-notch job––for a girl––at an exciting place.
But it was a dead end. Women researchers sometimes became reporters, rarely writers, and never editors. Any aspiring female journalist was told, “If you want to be a writer, go somewhere else.”
On March 16, 1970, the day Newsweek published a cover story on the fledgling feminist movement entitled “Women in Revolt,” forty-six Newsweek women charged the magazine with discrimination in hiring and promotion. It was the first female class action lawsuit––the first by women journalists––and it inspired other women in the media to quickly follow suit.
Lynn Povich was one of the ringleaders. In The Good Girls Revolt, she evocatively tells the story of this dramatic turning point through the lives of several participants. With warmth, humor, and perspective, she shows how personal experiences and cultural shifts led a group of well-mannered, largely apolitical women, raised in the 1940s and 1950s, to challenge their bosses––and what happened after they did. For many, filing the suit was a radicalizing act that empowered them to “find themselves” and fight back. Others lost their way amid opportunities, pressures, discouragements, and hostilities they weren’t prepared to navigate.
The Good Girls Revolt also explores why changes in the law didn’t solve everything. Through the lives of young female journalists at Newsweek today, Lynn Povich shows what has––and hasn’t––changed in the workplace.
"Feminist history at its best, Povich evokes, with clear-eyed affection and a keen sense of history the heady atmosphere of 'Swinging Sixties'-era Newsweek: a real-life Mad Men with a social conscience and sense of mission. In 1970, when Newsweek's editors, who prided themselves on their progressive views (pro — civil rights, anti — Vietnam War), determined that the women's movement merited a cover story, it didn't occur to them that Newsweek's caste system, which relegated women to dead-end jobs as researchers. was a civil rights violation. An unpleasant surprise awaited them when, on June 16, 1970 — the same day Newsweek's 'Women in Revolt' issue hit the newsstands — 46 female Newsweek employees, Povich among them, filed an EEOC complaint charging Newsweek with systematic discrimination in hiring and promotion. The transformation of Povich — who subsequently became Newsweek's first female senior editor — and her colleagues from polite, deferential girls to women of courage forms the heart of this lively, engaging book. Their successful lawsuit paved the way for similar suits at the New York Times, NBC, and others, expanding opportunities for women journalists while underscoring how attitudes are often more resistant to change than laws. Forty years later, women are discovering for themselves that the fight for equal rights is not over. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The untold story of an uprising that transformed the Mad Men office culture: its bittersweet impact on the women involved, and what has—and hasn't—changed
On March 16, 1970, Newsweek magazine hit newsstands with a cover story on the fledgling feminist movement entitled "Women in Revolt." That same day, 46 Newsweek women, Lynn Povich among them, announced they'd filed an EEOC complaint charging their employer with "systematic discrimination" against them in hiring and promotion.
In The Good Girls Revolt, Povich evocatively tells the story of this dramatic turning point through the lives of several participants, showing how personal experiences and cultural shifts led a group of well-mannered, largely apolitical women, raised in the 1940s and 1950s, to stand up for their rights—and what happened after they did. For many, filing the suit was a radicalizing act that empowered them to "find themselves" and stake a claim. Others lost their way in a landscape of opportunities, pressures, discouragements, and hostilities they weren't prepared to navigate.
With warmth, humor, and perspective, the book also explores why changes in the law did not change everything for today's young women.
About the Author
Lynn Povich is an award-winning journalist who has spent more than 40 years in the news business. She began her career at Newsweek as a secretary. In 1970, she was one of 46 women who sued Newsweek for sex discrimination. Five years later, Povich was appointed the first woman Senior Editor in the magazines history. Povich left Newsweek in 1991 to become Editor-in-Chief of Working Woman magazine, the only national business magazine for women. She joined MSNBC.Com in 1996 to help launch the 24-hour news and information cable/internet venture, overseeing the web content of NBC News as well as MSNBC Cable.
Povich has received numerous honors, including a 1976 Matrix Award from Women in Communications for Exceptional Achievement in Magazines. In 2005, she edited a book on her father, famed Washington Post sports columnist Shirley Povich, called All Those Mornings At the Post. A native of Washington, D.C., Povich graduated from Vassar College, where she served as Executive-in-Residence in 1996. She is married to Stephen B. Shepard, former Editor-in-Chief of Business Week and Founding Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism of the City University of New York. They have two children
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Prologue: Why do I need feminism?” or What Goes Around, Comes Around
Chapter 1: Editors File Story: Girls File Complaint
Chapter 2: A News Magazine Tradition
Chapter 3: The Hot Book”
Chapter 4: Ring Leaders
Chapter 5: You Gotta Take Off Your White Gloves, Ladies”
Chapter 6: Negotiating an Agreement
Chapter 7: Mad Men: The Boys Fight Back
Chapter 8: The Steel Magnolia
Chapter 9: Joe—Surrender”
Chapter 10: The Barricades Fell
Epilogue: Where They Are Now
What Our Readers Are Saying
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