Posts tagged Lynn Povich
Posts tagged Lynn Povich
Lynn Povich is a true pioneer. That is all.
Lynn Povich, author of THE GOOD GIRLS REVOLT, discusses what life was like working at Newsweek in the 1960s and 1970s.
OMG, Jennifer Beals tweeted about our book The Good Girls Revolt. What a feeling!
“At Time magazine, they had mail boys, but at Newsweek only young women were hired to deliver the mail, rolling their carts down the halls in their proper shifts and high-heel shoes. Then you graduated to clipper and finally to researcher—or fact-checker. But the office was exciting. The wires were clacking, the phones ringing, and you had an inside line to the great matters of the day. There was a lot of drinking—inside the office and out—and on Friday nights, a lineup of black sedans would wait until we finished at one or two in the morning and whisk us back to our minuscule apartments. It was the Swinging Sixties, so there was a lot of sex between the male bosses and the young women—most of it consensual. But there was some inappropriate sexual behavior and instances where favors were asked—or given—to further one’s career.” —Lynn Povich, author of THE GOOD GIRLS REVOLT, interviewed on The Daily Beast
“The Good Girls Revolt” by Lynn Povich (PublicAffairs), scheduled for release next week, is the little-known story of how a small band of women at Newsweek successfully challenged this industrywide practice. They fought the men of Newsweek in the early 1970s, becoming the first women in the media to sue on the grounds of sex discrimination.
At Newsweek in the mid-1960s, Ms. Povich writes, the problem was sexism, pure and simple. Although the women were graduates of the same top colleges as the men, and had the same or better qualifications, they were hired for the mail desk, or as fact checkers, and rarely promoted to reporter or writer….
Finally a core of women that included Ms. Povich began organizing to fight back. The nervous band of sisters recruited members in secret — mainly in the ladies’ room — terrified that they would be found out and fired. In search of a pro bono lawyer to take the case, in the winter of 1970 they approached the brilliant, fiery Eleanor Holmes Norton, then the assistant legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
It was an inspired choice. A veteran civil rights advocate and an avowed feminist, Ms. Norton took one look at Newsweek’s male-dominated masthead, and realized that she was seeing a clear case of discrimination.
Some of the women wanted to take their case directly to Newsweek’s editor in chief, Osborn Elliott, a charming man who had three daughters of his own. Ms. Norton had a tart view of such tactics. “You goddamn middle class women — you think you can just go to Daddy and ask for what you want?” she asked them.
In one of the many striking sequences in the book, Ms. Povich describes how Ms. Norton forged them into a combat unit, reminding them of their rights and teaching them how to fight management and succeed. “Ladies,” she advised, “you have to take off your white gloves.”
On this Administrative Professionals’ Day, a photo of our author Lynn Povich—who became the first woman senior editor at Newsweek—back when she was a researcher in the Paris office. Lynn’s book, The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace, comes out in September.