Review: The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich
Title: The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace
Author: Povich, Lynn
Length: 288 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Women, History
Publisher / Year: Public Affairs / 2012
Source: From the publisher, and signed by the author, at Book Expo America 2012.
Why I Read It: I hadn’t heard about the Newsweek lawsuits or known the early history of the sex discrimination suits, this seemed like a great way to learn.
Date Read: 22/06/12
How much do you know about sex discrimination law and the workplace? In the United States, did you know that the first class action lawsuit challenging sex discrimination was filed by the women of Newsweek in the 1970′s? In this book Povich details their story, and the effects that it had on the women involved (including herself), and the women who came after them.
Povich started with an introduction with women at Newsweek present day, and their experience there. She also talks a lot about how long it took the women to “get it” in the 1970′s. I think that this factor, this “getting it” is something that we all struggle with – they did when first thinking to file, and present day when so many think that feminism is unnecessary, the struggle is still there to understand how something can be an institutional issue rather than a personal flaw keeping one from getting ahead.
One thing I really liked was how Povich talked about all of the women involved and about their lives during the case and after. She highlighted, by doing this, that the women were all different, all struggled with different issues, and didn’t all have the same career goals or paths. She acknowledges that women aren’t a monolithic group, but also highlights that we all deserve career opportunities just as men get. She also discusses some of the current issues keeping women from fully participating still today.
I find books like this incredibly important and inspiring because they highlight the very real fights that were fought by others on my behalf. Much of the benefits that I now get, I get only because of courageous people who came before and did their best to make things better, no matter the effects on their own lives and careers. While this was in the US and not in Canada, I think it still definitely had an effect across the border, and it was great reading more about it.
Definitely a highly recommended read for anyone interested in women, women’s issues, feminism, workplace discrimination, and journalism. The memoir covers so much of interest that you’re certain to learn something important.