Throwback Thursday: The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace by Lynn Povich (2016)

In 1970, a group of women, mostly employed as researchers and fact checkers at Newsweek magazine, filed a lawsuit against the publication for gender discrimination on the same day Newsweek ran a cover story entitled, “Women in Revolt.”  The Good Girls Revolt tells the story of the brave women who risked their futures to make the workplace fairer.  The Newsweek suit was the first class-action suit brought by women, it was also the first by women journalists;  the Newsweek suit would be followed by others at Time, The New York Times, and Reader’s Digest.  

Results were good for some of the women, and less so for others, but many of them recall this as a defining moment in their lives.  They stood up for themselves and the fact that they were being institutionally discriminated against because they were women.  They had the same Ivy League educations and the same writing credentials as the men, and yet they were never going to advance beyond researcher at Newsweek.  In some cases they were told this in no uncertain terms.  Often, women of the sixties accepted this type of treatment as “just the way things were.”  But after the civil rights act was passed including a provision which outlawed sex discrimination, Judy Gingold started attending a conscientious raising group, where she had an “aha” moment that would make all the difference.  

These were not angry, man-hating, bra-burning, feminists.  They were nice girls who had labored under the illusion that hard work and achievement would get them where they wanted to go.  Once they realized those things would never be enough, they decided to do something to change the system.  

I wish every woman under thirty would read this book for two big reasons.  First, they would realize the debt they owe to the women who came before them.  Sometimes, it is tempting to think that the way things are is the way they have always been.  Reading about the real women who put their real reputations on the line to help others might give a little perspective to modern young women.  Second, young women might be less inclined towards apathy.  Women have yet to attain real equality.  It is true that great strides have been made, but as long as women are undervalued and over-sexualized, there is no equality.

Published by Robin Henry

Independent Scholar and Book Coach specializing in Historical Fiction and Literary Fan Fiction.

%d bloggers like this: