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The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,999 ratings  ·  435 reviews
On March 16, 1970, Newsweek magazine hit newsstands with a cover story on the fledgling feminist movement entitled "Women in Revolt." That same day, 46 Newsweek women, Lynn Povich among them, announced they'd filed an EEOC complaint charging their employer with "systematic discrimination" against them in hiring and promotion.

In "The Good Girls Revolt," Povich evocatively t
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 10th 2012 by PublicAffairs
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3.67  · 
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 ·  2,999 ratings  ·  435 reviews

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Meredith Holley
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women who want to hear stories of people like themselves; men who want to know about women.

oh my god.

Oh my god, I love this book!! I love histories of women that make me freak out, and this one does that. This gives me goose bumps. The descriptions of the conflict these women felt between wanting to be good girls and realizing that being a good girl means becoming a shell and disappearing are so beautiful and told so well. Povich is brilliant, and it’s clear that she has so much compassion and understanding for women who reacted very differently to the discrimination they
Once again, I find myself in the minority.

Don't get me wrong. My dislike for this book is not a reflection of my feelings about the topic. I think it's great that these women sued "Newsweek" at great personal risk in the early 70s and eventually, paved the way for women to begin breaking the glass ceiling in journalism. I admire their courage, their willingness to fight for what they believed in, and the fact that they actually achieved a great deal.

So I should have liked this book, right? Unfo
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
So much progress, so much still to achieve.
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
I really wanted to absolutely love this book. The story itself is awesome, but the writing was pretty dry. I wish that Povich had written with the passion the women of Newsweek must have felt at the time she's writing about. It is extremely factual, and the structure is very strict. Each woman involved gets a nice tidy paragraph or two with her history (both at the end and throughout the text as they are mentioned), and a quote or two thrown in. It's written very much like a long news article; i ...more
Laurie Gold
Jul 18, 2012 rated it liked it
My consciousness was raised in 1978, during my first semester at college. Nearly 35 years later, my 20-year-old daughter is about to start her junior year. Like the young professional women Povich writes about as her new book begins, she doesn't consider herself a feminist. Like the bright and shiny-eyed women at the start of her book, my daughter lacks the contextual history of sexism and the knowledge of who fought the good fight for equality. I would love for her to read this book.

Povich use
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is hard to review. The story is important and inspirational. It also carries many of the flaws of that era's feminism, further burdened by a pre-2016 feminism and social activism. It is hard to absorb the ingrained patriarchy in some quotes. There are women who participated in the lawsuit and yet remained worried about being a good girl, women who didn't think they should take jobs from men. However, there was also important insight in how people can grow and change.

It's a 3.5 stars--I

This book is an important read about a bangin subject, but unfortunately for me the writing felt a little bit flat. I know it's a major feminist fail for me to acknowledge that this wasn't the perfect book, but I gotta be real. I felt like the book was way too journalistic for my taste. The story was so fucking plot and fact and event heavy that we never got to really connect with the ladies of the hour. Maybe it's just a personal preference for a style of writing, but for me the whole thing fe
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
The story is fascinating, but all of the facts bogged it down for me--which is no fault of the author's, that's just how non-fiction, especially in this case, works. Definitely a case of it's not you, it's me--I just don't gel as well with non-fiction.

STILL, an important story that is sadly still relevant today.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A quick read and an excellent history of how the work environment has changed. It is honestly astounding what use to be okay. It is equally astounding what still is okay.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, history
This was an interesting insider account of the ways women's right jumped and inched forward in America. I liked how she chronicled the consciousness raising of the women, and how it played out with different men in the organization. I thought it was a fair and balanced recounting of all involved.

Only three stars because, though it was solidly written, nothing blew me out of the water. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to anyone who knows it will be of interest to them, but it's not the kind
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Ugh, some parts of this were good. It's a capable enough history, but a lot of the editorializing is White Feminism incarnate. Hearing them whine at the end of the book that Jezebel had critiqued the intersectionality of the Modern newsweek girls was trying. "We didn't think sexism was still an issue" is a quote from women I simply can't identify with.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The author is only a few years older than I am, so I really related to the personal part of her story--what she expected when she went to college, and how different real life became. I never worked for a news magazine, but I did have summer jobs at Reader's Digest. Things may have changed for women in today's workplace, but as the author notes, not yet enough. Any young woman who thinks that there must be something wrong with them should read this book and see that it is more likely to be the cu ...more
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I knew this would be incredibly informative but I underestimated how extraordinarily infuriating it would be too. An eye-opener into what our newsrooms and media workplaces looked like just 30 and 40 years ago, and a reminder of how much more agitating women have to do in the workplace. This is a very fast read that does a nice job of situating the Newsweek fight into the broader context of the women's liberation movement as well as the historically fratty "boys club" culture of American journal ...more
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm glad I read this. It was a good reminder that although things have improved, we still have a ways to go. I like that they sandwiched the 1960s story with the current women of Newsweek. However, at times the story needed more of a thread. It started to become small updates on each woman and there were so many that I would have preferred a deep dive into two or three rather than a skim of a dozen.
Brittany Craig
I wanted to love this book, and I learned a lot, but it was hard to get through. I felt like I was reading a list of things that happened rather than a narrative.
Leslie Goddard
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging history of the class-action complaint filed by Newsweek female staffers in March 1970, charging the magazine with discrimination in hiring and promotion, written by one of the ringleaders herself.

The best parts, by far, are the chapters outlining what the workplace at Newsweek looked like in the late 1960s (when women with college degrees were automatically hired as fact-checkers, mailgirls, and occasionally reporters, but NEVER writers or editors), and the cha
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 24 hours! I started it in line to vote and just couldn't put it down. Read it through lunch, dinner, and finished it at breakfast the next morning. It tells the riveting story of a crucial moment in the ongoing fight for equal rights for women in the workplace.

Do you like the TV show "Mad Men"? Are you glad that you don't personally have to experience that work environment? Well it's based on fact and wasn't that long ago. Just one generation ago it was normal for women, rega
Jean Marie Angelo
My first professional job was in the publishing industry. I worked on Folio, a magazine that covered the magazine industry. So many of the women mentioned here are women I learned about — or even interviewed at one time. When I started as an assistant editor in 1984, magazine publishing was called a pink collar ghetto. It was long hours, low pay, and mostly made up of young college graduates who were women working for less than their male counterparts. To think that 10 years earlier, women could ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Newsweek utilized college-educated women in journalism
& other fields as employees, working as researchers and
fact-checkers. Middle & upper male managers @News-
week claimed the women did not have writing skills.

In 1970, 47 brave female Newsweek employees made an
EEOC complaint. The women had Bachelor's degrees and
some even Master's degrees, some better qualified than
the new male hires. Newsweek avoided a lawsuit but
it was a hollow victory for the women. Male mgt 1)
gave established
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
To use a cliche, my head is spinning; but it's literally true. I don't do well with both books like this, books crammed, stuffed, with names, names, names; date after date after date; and dizzying time travel. I had vertigo once; I know dizzy when it hits. It's me. I can't keep up, can't focus; not enough living, breathing, preferably intensely suffering humans for me to obsess over, I think. The story, though, the blatant sexism and sexual harassment of the industry, of the era, surprisingly, s ...more
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Think of this book like Mad Men, but set at a newsmagazine instead of an ad agency.

As both a journalism junkie and a historian with a feminist bend, this book hit a sweet spot for me. Povich's writing is clear, engaging and even-handed, as you would expect from a top Newsweek writer and editor. Toward the end, the story gets a big bogged down by trying to relay every small detail of what unfolded after the landmark lawsuit, but despite that, I'd call this a must-read for anyone working in media
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this book because I liked the Amazon series so much and was very disappointed it wasn't renewed, so I hoped to learn more. The book confirmed that there should have been a second season of the show! The book itself was a little dry, I recommend it if you're interested in sex discrimination law, but it's written in a "just the facts" style, when I expected it to be more of a storytelling style, like the show. I know it's not fair to rate it based on my show-inspired expectations. The women ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I watched the Amazon Prime series before reading this book, and I really enjoyed both. I loved getting the history of the sexism that happened not only at Newsweek, but in general during a time where there was no racial or gender equality, both of which are still relevant now. It's an empowering read that sometimes drags on, but it has interesting stories to share and just how much fighting had to be done to try to set things right. The writing style was not my favorite, but overall, I did enjoy ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating. Since Good Girls Revolt didn’t get renewed for a 2nd season I had tons of questions about what happened after the law suit was filed. This book answered them all. It was also fun reading because you could see how the composite characters for the series were drawn from the real people. One of the female reporters used to hang her ball gowns on her office door. Jane did that in the series. And an editor did really throw a typewriter across a room.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an eye opener! This book made me angry, and raised my consciousness at the same time. I’m adept at seeing racial bias in the workplace and even ageism, but on sexism in the workplace I had little to no knowledge. This was a crash course of the working environment for women in print media in the 60’s. I’m thankful for all they gave!

I have a few issues with the format of the novel, but all in all an interesting read.
Kayla Song
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nonfiction books are generally difficult for me to read, but this book was very interesting. It was refreshing to read about women who had ambition and who changed society for the better through their efforts. I feel like there’s not enough stories of powerful women like that.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. What great courage these women had to take a stand and fight for their rights.
Susie Schnall
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that gave great insight into what working at Newsweek was like in late 60s and what led to the lawsuit.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Tells an important story of feminist empowerment, but with none of the flair or panache that Mad Men conveyed in this single image:
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Contemporary YA: The Good Girls Revolt 4 10 Oct 02, 2016 06:25PM  

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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 ...more
“We were women in transition, raised in one era and coming of age in another, very different we were, entering the workplace in the 1960s questioning--and often rejecting--many of the values we had been taught. We were the polite, perfectionist "good girls," who never showed our drive or our desires around men. Now we were becoming mad women, discovering and confronting our own ambitions, a quality praised in men but stigmatized--still--in women.” 7 likes
“What led to our revolt? Why did our generation suddenly realize that our place in society was changing--and had to change? In part, we were carried by the social and political currents of our time...But even with the social winds in our sails and the women's movement behind us, each of us had to overcome deeply held values and traditional social strictures. The struggle was personally painful and professionally scary. What would happen to us? Would we win our case? Would we change the magazine? Or would we be punished? Who would succeed and who would not? And if our revolt failed, were our careers over--or were they over anyway? We knew that filing the suit legally protected us from being fired, but we didn't trust the editors not to find some way to do us in.

Whatever happened, the immediate result is that it put us all on the line. "The night after the press conference I realized there was no turning back," said Lucy Howard. "Once I stepped up and said I wanted to be a writer, it was over. I wanted to change Newsweek, but everything was going to change.”
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