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Lynn Povich

First Female Senior Editor, Newsweek

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Lynn Povich on the glass ceilings in journalism and confronting them in a landmark suit at Newsweek magazine.
Lynn Povich is an award-winning journalist and women’s rights pioneer. In 1970, she helped organize a landmark sex discrimination suit against Newsweek, and in 1975, became the first female senior editor in the magazine’s history.   After graduating from Vassar in 1965, Povich began her career as a secretary in the Paris Bureau of Newsweek. She rose to become a reporter and writer in the New York office, at a time when almost all of the writers and editors were men and all of the fact checkers, researchers, and secretaries were women. In 1970, she joined with 45 other women to sue the magazine for sex discrimination, announcing the suit the very day Newsweek published a cover story on the women’s movement, “Women in Revolt.” The lawsuit and the publicity it created were a major first step toward gender equality in the media business. The magazine promised to hire and promote more women and within five years Povich became the first female senior editor in the history of the magazine. In 2012, she published “The Good Girls Revolt,” which chronicles the landmark Newsweek suit and how much has--and hasn't changed since.   Povich stepped down from her senior editor position in 1980 in order to work part time while raising her children. She left Newsweek in 1991, to become Editor-in-Chief of Working Woman, which she turned into the only national business magazine for women. Most recently she was managing editor/senior executive producer of East Coast programming at MSNBC.com. She is a recipient of the Matrix Award for Magazines and serves on the Advisory Boards of the International Women's Media Foundation and the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.

More From Lynn

“In Walks Eleanor Holmes Norton”
Povich describes the reaction of the Newsweek editors to the women's assertive, pregnant, African American lawyer, Eleanor Holmes Norton.

The Part-Time Solution
Povich discusses her transition to working part-time after the birth of her first child.

The “Good Girl” Syndrome
Povich picks apart the "syndrome" of living life by trying to be a "good girl."

When History Repeats Itself
Povich explains how forty years after the landmark lawsuit, young women at Newsweek had to discover its history anew.

Turned Off by "Feminism"
Povich reflects on young women's attitude to the word "feminist" versus the principles of the movement.

Career & Marriage
Povich considers how not getting the validation she needed at first in her career affected her marriage.

Co-Ed Friendships
Povich praises young women for their close friendships with men.

Exhibit A
Povich discusses the coincidence of the Newsweek women's lawsuit to a cover story about the women's movement, written by a male writer.

Our Demands
Povich details the news conference announcing the suit, their demands, and her male colleagues reaction.

A Courageous Second Lawsuit
Povich explains the decision to sue Newsweek for a second time, the courage it took, and the spirit of the times that buoyed them.

The Women’s Movement Comes Home
Povich talks about realizing that women's inequality was not only a topic to be reported on, but alive in her news organization as well.

The Case for the Flexible Workplace
Povich argues that until the country tackles childcare and flexible work hours we'll be wasting half of our best human resources.