Let’s Hear It For The Ladies
March is Women’s History Month, so let’s remember the wonder women who have helped change the world. Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa and Oprah Winfrey are some of the names that come up when we think of strong, influential women; however, there are many unsung heroes.
In 1970, 46 brave Newsweek women sued their employer for the right to write. This momentous and often forgotten fight is the subject of Amazon’s new series Good Girls Revolt, which is based on a book of the same name by Lynn Povich. Povich was one of the many aspiring female journalists at Newsweek in the late 1960s/early 1970s who was relegated to a research and reporting role and told that if she wanted to write, she should go somewhere else. On March 16, 1970, at the height of the fledging feminist movement, Povich and her fellow “good girls” sued the newsmagazine for discrimination. In Good Girls Revolt (PublicAffairs), Povich tells the inspiring story of how a group of well-mannered women joined together to challenge their male bosses, and in turn, changed the face of media forever. Though this lawsuit was the first of its kind and paved the way for many other female journalists to fight back in the 1970s, it’s a battle that still exists today. Povich shows this by highlighting Newsweek’s 2010 story – written by three female reporters – on the 40th anniversary of the “Good Girls Revolt,” which found that that while things are better, women journalists still aren’t afforded equal opportunities as their male counterparts.
Last November, the U.S. came close to electing its first female president. Though a woman has yet to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling and become America’s Commander in Chief, there have been many women in the White House who have greatly contributed to the history of our country. First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of the 45 Iconic American Women (PublicAffairs) is a new book that documents the lives of the 45 first women who have lived and reigned in the White House. Adapted from C-SPAN’s yearlong history series, First Ladies: Image and Influence, this book is a collection of edited transcripts of each episode, slightly modified to achieve a conversational essay style of storytelling. Though unconventional, I personally found it reader-friendly. First Ladies accomplishes the goal of shining a light on who the first ladies were: women who sacrificed the comforts of a private life to spend it by their husbands’ sides – and often in their shadows. From the often overlooked wives like Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams and Julia Dent Grant to the well-known like Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (yes, her real name was Anna) and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, these condensed biographies include anecdotes of their time in the White House and the roles they played during each presidency, as well as bits from their personal lives and, oftentimes, the effects each had on American culture.
By Kimberly Dunbar