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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
When the Newsweek editors decided to write a cover story about feminism in March 1970, it was a hot topic, just the sort of current events coverage that the news magazine was known for. The day the issue hit the stands, a group of women who worked at Newsweek filed a civil rights suit against the magazine. Newsweek was being sued for gender discrimination.

Lynn Povich, one of the few women writers at Newsweek at the time, was one of forty-six women filing the suit, and she has gathered the documents and interviewed many of the people involved, on both sides, to ensure that the story isn't forgotten. The resulting book left me feeling both exhilarated at the progress they made in 1970 and beyond, and dismayed at the lost ground that will have to be fought over yet again.

The case was almost laughably open and shut, from a legal standpoint. Women with Ivy League degrees were hired at Newsweek as secretaries or researchers, and rarely rose above that. Men with similar degrees were hired as writers and went on to become correspondents and editors. Women who tried to become writers were discouraged or simply passed over. The few who did become writers were paid lower wages than men at the same level.

But the system was so entrenched that most of the women were reluctant to stir the pot. They were good girls.

While some of the management at Newsweek were surprised that the women won the suit, they shouldn't have been. On the other hand, it probably shouldn't have been a big surprise to the women that two years after having won the case, there were even fewer women writers and editors at Newsweek than before. They had to sue again.

Povich quotes Jane Bryant Quinn (who worked at Newsweek, but not at the time of the lawsuits) as saying "Equality is never given, it is taken."

The book opens and closes with the plight of several women working for Newsweek today who are astonished to find themselves facing obstacles such as the ones that were supposed to have been overcome forty years ago. They were unaware of the events of forty years ago. The Good Girls Revolt may have to be waged yet again.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 17, 2012
My sons like to tease me and call me a feminist (yeah, they don't get it), a badge I proudly wear, so I was surprised that I knew nothing about the revolt by the women working at Newsweek magazine, who in 1970 brought a complaint to the EEOC against the magazine charging discrimination against them in hiring and promotion practices.

Lynn Povich, a writer who worked at Newsweek and was part of the suit, brings the story to life in The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women at Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace. The women were employed at the magazine as researchers, but were never promoted to writer or editor, even though they had similar education and experience as the men hired as researchers and quickly promoted to writer and editor.

Nora Ephron, who worked at the magazine, described the "caste system"
"For every man there was an inferior woman, for every writer there was a checker", said Nora Ephron. "They were the artists and we were the drones. But what is interesting is how institutionally sexist it was without necessarily being personally sexist. To me, it wasn't oppressive. They were going to try to sleep with you- and if you wanted to, you could. But no one was going to fire you for not sleeping with them."
Mad Men's Madison Avenue offices weren't the only places where sex and booze ruled the workplace.

Povich is an excellent writer, and parts of this book, especially where the women were secretly meeting and trying to recruit other women to join the suit, read like a tense spy novel. Will they get caught?

They hired a young and pregnant Eleanor Holmes Norton to represent them. "The editors, who had supported the struggle for civil rights, were completely baffled by this pregnant black woman who questioned their commitment to equality."

The male editors, some of whom seemed like great guys, just didn't get it. What was worse in many of the women's eyes, was that Katherine Graham, who owned The Washington Post and Newsweek, didn't get it either. There is a powerful scene where Graham meets with the women and appears baffled by their action.

Along with the historical context of this story, I enjoyed reading about the inner workings of the magazine. We had a subscription for many years, and I always turned to read Anna Quindlen's back page column first. I had no idea that the struggle for equality there was so recent.

I recognized so many names in this book- Qunidlen, Ephron, Eleanor Clift, Jane Bryant Quinn and Maureen Orth among them. But it is the names that I didn't know, they are the important names, the ones who laid it all on the line so that the above mentioned women would be well known. Women like Povich, Pat Lynden and Lucy Howard paved the way for the other women with this lawsuit.

This book is essential reading for all young women starting out in the workplace. They must know who fought the battles for them so that they have the opportunities now available to them. The women of Newsweek are heroes, and I think that this book would be perfect for a high school or college journalism curriculum. I was also lucky enough to meet Ms. Povich at this year's Book Expo America, a true honor.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2012
I had the oddest feeling while reading this book that time both stands still even as it flees by. Povich starts the book with a vignette of three young professional women and their plight of career stagnation due to discrimination. Then she describes the stories of some of the principal complainants in the 1970 class action suit brought against `Newsweek' for sex discrimination. Povich outlines not just their professional stories but also some of their relevant personal history including their outlooks on life, their career goals, and their unique personalities. This makes the story personal and the reader can't help but root for their triumph. It seems so ludicrous from this distance to realize a lot of these women had Ivy league educations yet were stuck in the mail or research rooms of `Newsweek'. What a waste of an education, drive, and talent. They did win the suit but sadly, they had to continue to fight for what they'd supposedly won through the courts. An entrenched social system doesn't change overnight. Also, not everyone longs to be at the top, many are content with fulfilling jobs that allow time for a family life. The downside to the situation is the women who'd been exiled to fact checking for the male writers sometimes didn't aspire to be writers but felt compelled to try out for that slot after the suit and if they succeeded in becoming a writer they felt obligated to write `hard' news rather than arts and culture articles regardless of their interests. Worst of all few of the women who lodged the suit benefited personally from it. It was the women who came after them who were able to take advantage of the opportunities these women made possible. Povich walks us through the decades post-suit and what that meant for women.

One of the worst enemies for women then and now is the desire to be `nice', to be a team player, and to be thought well of. Women in positions of power are much more likely to be disliked than those in the typing pool. Worst of all finding a mentor is a challenge for women. Men can more easily find an older, more successful man to teach him the ropes, someone who will champion him and his career goals. Standing out or achieving recognition as a woman is seen as being pushy and rude. Not so for men especially if they have someone powerful to back them. It was then that I realized how relatively recent some of these changes were. And sadly the experiences of Jessica, Jesse, and Sara, the three women who sued for more job opportunities and less discrimination in 2010, still felt the sting of a culture that under estimates women and the family in general even today. This is a fascinating history of the workplace and I love how Povich informs on how both sexes benefited and/or were deprived of finding a work situation that best fit for them. So much progress, so much still to achieve.

This review is based on an e-galley provided by the publisher.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2013
I'm glad that the women sued and got results but it just isn't interesting enough to be a book. Way too many individuals to keep track of. It could have said something like 30 women that were in the top 10% of thier classes at very prestegious colleges, but instead described every single one and it went on and on that way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2012
As the women at Newsweek were organizing, the women in network news were also on the move. I was one of them at ABC News, and recognize the issues that Lynn Povich describes in her excellent book. There were revelations for me: the intransigence of the men at Newsweek, their cluelessness,and their resistance to change. I was also surprised by the initial timidity of the women, and I think that is one of the things that has changed. What has not changed is the ignorance of this history. Young would-be female journalists unfortunately are mostly unaware of what my generation experienced. This book could do a lot to correct that. I was glad to get an early look at this book from Amazon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
This book has so much unfulfilled potential. The author seems to be into name-dropping, which is useless to a large percentage of her readers. Too much of the book read like a timeline. If it had been written more like a novel, it would have been way more interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2012
The book is set in 1969 - 1970, a time when women's issues were coming to the forefront of American thought. The author, an educated career driven female, went to work for Newsweek where she learned that her entire career would be limited to serving as a "researcher" to a male "reporter." That man may get promoted, but she would never leave the ranks of a researcher.

Actually, most men and many women did not see anything wrong with the arrangement. The females were just glad to be working in a professional setting doing something more glamorous and intellectually challenging than typing or secretarial work.

However, for the group of women who united to file suit against Newsweek, they saw the strictly gender-based stratification and they set out to do something about it. Keep in mind, had this been any earlier in American history, they would have had no recourse and probably would have been fired. But in those heady times of social change in the late 60's, the government had finally moved to put some gender and racial based protections in place. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) was in it's first year, and gave these ladies a foothold and legal basis to make a complaint prior to filing suit.

Interestingly, it wasn't so obvious to the white females and the black females that they had something in common, institutionalized and social patterns of discrimination based upon innate traits (gender and race). Just as, I'm sure, people today do not quickly see the similarities when it comes to gay rights.

An enjoyable and important read to those interested in recent American history.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2012
I read this for a book club and I was looking forward to this book, but the writing style made this a slow, painful read. The sytle would have been much better for an article. The storytelling style made it hard for me to care about these couragous women, which was deeply dissapointing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2012
I am a journalism major in my senior year of college. I had to review a book about journalism regarding race, culture or gender. I decided to do gender. In my search this was the first book to pop up. So when I bought the ebook, I planned on just skimming the book because my book report was going to be due soon. But after reading the first few pages, I was hooked. This book was excellent. As a journalism student and a woman, I learned that these women paved a way for me. I am not planning on working at Newsweek upon graduation but I am very thankful for these women's courage. I mean this book was a page-turner because there is a lot of history in this book. I had to find out what happened. This is an issue that wasn't really publicized. Even the recent coverage of the issue didn't go far. I am really happy that Ms. Lynn published this work. I mean to think that the only thing that women were good for was fact checking and cutting out articles is truly ridiculous. I had no clue that all those women in at top media outlets were being discriminated against like that. Many of them sued their bosses and some of them even won.

If you are interested in journalism, if you want to get an insight of women's role in the field and if you like a good book that highlights the women's movement, you should definitely read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
This book stunned me and moved me. It's amazing that in 1970 at a place like Newsweek, which prided itself on taking a progressive stand on civil rights for black people, the rights of women in its own coridors were so shockingly ignored. Povich paints a vivid picture of those times, and of how hard she and the other women who revoted had to work to get management (which saw itself as paternal and benevolent) to make things right. Until this book, the historic struggle and victory of the Newsweek 46 hasn't been fully told, and it's high time! Never mind that the print Newsweek said farewell this month; this critical chapter in its history wil live on as a reminder of what neded doing and got done, and made the magazine a much better publication as a result. Povich tels the story crisply, with great details, and with the urgency it deserves. Bravo!
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