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Monday, September 10, 2012

The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

I have been on a bit of a feminist kick lately--for no specific reason whatsoever.  It just seems like every book I have been reading is about feminism in the '70's...or close to it.  So Lynn Povich's The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace fit right in. 

In 1970 almost 50 women held a press conference announcing that they were suing their employer, Newsweek, for sex discrimination--right on the heels of the cover story hitting newsstands titled,"Women in Revolt".  There were almost no women writers on staff; they were researchers, reporters, and secretaries, but tradition dating back decades implicitly stated that women were not to be writers.  That started to change with this first lawsuit (of two, it would turn out).  What many people don't realize is that this lawsuit led to others--the Time lawsuit, The New York Times lawsuit, and several others.  It's suffice to say that these ladies were not just of their time but were pioneers in equality. 

This story is told in first person by someone who was actually present and accounted for in the lawsuit--Lynn Povich.  She was one of the instigators of the suit and was one of the writers who benefited the most in the long run.  She was a talented writer and, it turned out, and even more talented editor, and she was given a chance due to the eventual quotas put into place regarding female editorial staff.  I loved hearing her story from the point of view of someone who experienced the frustration and the angst that went along with suing the bosses that she cared for and respected deeply as colleagues.  I was proud of these women for their courage and their moxie.

There were several women involved in the lawsuit who didn't actually want to become writers or do much in the workplace after they had children, yet they felt it was important to fight for others who did.  This was truly an incredible story that should be read by every young lady growing up today.  It's so easy to take for granted all of the strides that the feminists before us made.  Anna Quindlen is interviewed in the book and she gives direct credit for her success to these dozens of ladies who took a chance and opened doors for those directly after them and for generations to come.

This book is definitely worth picking up for your fall reading.

Kindle version on the left, hard copy on the right:

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