The more things change…

Is it time for a new revolt?

Back in 1970, 46 female employees at NEWSWEEK* sued the magazine for discrimination in hiring and promotion.  The suit was brought by the talented, well-educated young women who distributed the mail, clipped newspaper stories or worked as researchers doing fact-checking, because that was the most they could aspire to at that time.  There were no female writers or editors at Newsweek.

After quietly planning their uprising for weeks—in the ladies restrooms—they announced the lawsuit on March 16 of that year, the same day Newsweek hit newsstands with the cover story, ‘Women in Revolt.’  The timing was not an accident, but was orchestrated to gain maximum publicity for their cause.

The story of this groundbreaking episode in American media history, and how it brought about change, is chronicled in the recent book, ‘Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace’ by Lynn Povich, one of the leading ladies of the revolt.  It’s a tale that offers context for younger women, who may take for granted the benefits that redound to them from the struggles of their Mad Men-era sisters.

But before we get all smug and self-satisfied about how far we’ve come since those days, let’s fast-forward to 2012, and the latest editorial salary survey released by FOLIO:* magazine.

The survey revealed that female magazine editors make, on average, $15,000 less than their male counterparts.  Using data from 513 editors, the differences between men and women’s salaries span all editorial levels.  And sadly, as Folio: editor Bill Mickey told the Atlantic Wire in an interview, the gap is where it historically has been.  But Mickey doesn’t provide any insights into why this is so, and simply said it reflects “national trends across other industries.”

But, even if others do it, it isn’t right.


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