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The Good Girls Revolt: When 46 Women Sued Newsweek for Discrimination

Lynn Povich | PublicAffairs | May 16, 2014 | 3,368 words
Posted inBooks, First Chapters, Nonfiction, Story, Unapologetic Women

The Good Girls Revolt

In 1970, Lynn Povich and 45 other women sued Newsweek for discrimination. Here is what the workplace was like for them.

Lynn Povich | The Good Girls Revolt, Public Affairs | 2012 | 14 minutes (3,368 words)

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“Editors File Story; Girls File Complaint”

On March 16, 1970, Newsweek magazine hit the newsstands with a cover story on the fledgling feminist movement titled “Women in Revolt.” The bright yellow cover pictured a naked woman in red silhouette, her head thrown back, provocatively thrusting her fist through a broken blue female-sex symbol. As the first copies went on sale that Monday morning, forty-six female employees of Newsweek announced that we, too, were in revolt. We had just filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging that we had been “systematically discriminated against in both hiring and promotion and forced to assume a subsidiary role” simply because we were women. It was the first time women in the media had sued on the grounds of sex discrimination and the story, irresistibly timed to the Newsweek cover, was picked up around the world:

• “‘Discriminate,’ le redattrici di Newsweek?” (La Stampa) “Newsweek’s Sex Revolt” (London Times)
• “Editors File Story; Girls File Complaint” (Newsday)
• “Women Get Set for Battle” (London Daily Express)
• “As Newsweek Says, Women Are in Revolt, Even on Newsweek” (New York Times)

The story in the New York Daily News, titled “Newshens Sue Newsweek for ‘Equal Rights,’” began, “Forty-six women on the staff of Newsweek magazine, most of them young and most of them pretty, announced today they were suing the magazine.”

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