Lynn Povich’s The Good Girls Revolt tells the story of a class action lawsuit that was brought against Newsweek in 1970, by a number of the women then employed at the magazine. In their groundbreaking suit, the forty-six women charged Newsweek with discrimination in promotion and hiring; this was the first female class action lawsuit, and the first brought by female journalists.
One of the leaders of the suit, Povich deftly ties several narrative threads together in this fast-paced account. She simultaneously details the relevant history of the magazine; introduces the reader to a large cast of characters, including editors, researchers, attorneys and reporters; and paints a vivid picture of the work environment at the magazine in the late 1960s and early 1970s. While the story can become complicated at times, particularly when it comes to discussing the lawsuit’s aftermath, Povich’s writing style is straightforward and engaging.
It would be nice to think that Povich’s experience is one that resides safely in the past. But while great strides have been made for workplace equality – and gender equality in general – Povich makes it clear that women are still encountering workplace discrimination today, albeit in more subtle forms. She bookends her tale with the story of three young female Newsweek employees who, almost forty years after the lawsuit, navigate an environment that, in some ways, may not have changed as much as one would expect – and hope.