Newsweek on inequality at work
In March 1970, 46 female Newsweek staff sued their employer for discrimination. Now, forty years later, Jessica Bennett, Jesse Ellison and Sarah Ball have written a brave piece about their magazine’s history, and – even better – its present. They have also launched an arms-length blog about “young women, sexism, and the workplace” called Equality Myth.
No one would dare say today that “women don’t write here,” as the NEWSWEEK women were told 40 years ago. But men wrote all but six of NEWSWEEK’s 49 cover stories last year—and two of those used the headline “The Thinking Man.” In 1970, 25 percent of NEWSWEEK’s editorial masthead was female; today that number is 39 percent. Better? Yes. But it’s hardly equality.
Bennett, Ellison and Ball seem to have come to this conclusion gradually – as successful young women, they grew up believing that they could do anything. As Echidne, commenting on the piece, writes:
Outside the question of sexuality, the culture now does tell younger women that they can be anything they want if they work hard enough, though this suggestion is made before one enters the labor force or has any children. I suspect that the transition from college to the labor force is when some women hear that feminist alarm clock ringing.
This is exactly right. I have watched my friends’ ideas about gender shift perceptibly between high school, university, and now the working world. They are not alone. For many women, feminist perspectives on pop culture are not as compelling as what we have to say about the day to day challenges of work and family life.