The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich
How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

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This story is not just a Who’s Who of feminist achievement, but an honest portrayal of the battles of a few meant to benefit not only themselves but those who came after them. The Good Girls Revolt: ...is a book that needed to be written.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

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.
 

 

About Lynn Povich

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Lynn Povich began her career at Newsweek as a secretary. In 1975 she became the first woman senior editor in the magazine's history. Since leaving Newsweek in 1991, Povich has been editor-in-chief of Working Woman magazine and managing editor/senior executive producer for MSNBC.Com. Winner of the prestigious Matrix Award, Povich edited a book of columns by her father, famed Washington Post sports journalist Shirley Povich. She is married to Stephen Shepard, former editor-in-chief of Business Week and founding dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. They have two children.
 
Published September 10, 2012 by PublicAffairs. 292 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Gay & Lesbian, History, Science & Math, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Good Girls Revolt
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger on Sep 14 2012

If ever a book could remind women to keep their white gloves off and to keep fighting the good fight, this is the one.

Read Full Review of The Good Girls Revolt: How th... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Diane Brandley on Sep 10 2012

This story is not just a Who’s Who of feminist achievement, but an honest portrayal of the battles of a few meant to benefit not only themselves but those who came after them. The Good Girls Revolt: ...is a book that needed to be written.

Read Full Review of The Good Girls Revolt: How th... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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