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Author Who Chronicled 1970's Feminist Movement Reacts To Clinton's Loss


We're getting reaction all morning to Donald Trump's victory. In a race that pitted a woman in a pantsuit against a man accused of demeaning women, sexism emerged as an issue. Lynn Povich wrote a book on her experience with that, "The Good Girls Revolt: How The Women Of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses And Changed The Workplace." That was 1970. We reached Povich for her take on this presidential election.

Good morning.

LYNN POVICH: Thanks for having me, Renee.

MONTAGNE: What does Hillary Clinton's loss mean to you?

POVICH: Well, I think it's devastating for so many of us who really wanted and hoped that we would see a woman president in our lifetime. I think many of us are in shock that this country is still so resistant to so many things that she represents - even if she's flawed personally, the extent to which the kind of visceral hatred for her still exists. So sort of understanding what's personal and what's political has been really interesting in this particular election.

MONTAGNE: Well, do you take this is as partly or - or largely misogyny?

POVICH: Well, I think there's no question that there was a lot of misogyny brought out during the election. You know, we thought it was sort of covert these days, but it was certainly overt in this particular election. I think, on the other hand, it galvanized a lot of particularly young women, who perhaps thought that, you know, things were better and this didn't really matter. And I think, during this campaign, they really got pissed off. They got angry. And, in fact, it looks like she won sort of the majority of young women.

MONTAGNE: You know, Hillary Clinton's campaign based ads on Donald Trump's publicly deriding women and their looks, especially one ad was - became very well-known, even if people didn't see it. And it was about young girls looking in the mirror, and you were hearing things that Donald Trump had said. But yet, as we know, plenty of women voted for him.

POVICH: Well, I mean, we - we've talked about in the past elections of people voting against their self-interests. And I think that it's interesting. People say, oh, well, you know, it was really more about the economy because of the working class and the loss of jobs and things like that. Well, women have economic issues, too - the equal pay, paid leave, you know, healthcare. And yet, you know, we find that a lot of women who didn't think he was fit for the presidency also voted for him. So there is this disconnect between people voting for their self-interests. And it sort of indicates to me that, you know, it's - we're back in the culture wars more than the economic situation.

MONTAGNE: The fact is women still face some of the same issues today that you faced back in 1970, especially women are paid less. There's a level of gender discrimination. But I'm wondering, is this really a setback - the fact that the glass ceiling was not broken for our country's highest office?

POVICH: Well, I think that it's important to break the final glass ceiling. I just think every ceiling that's been broken to show that a woman can do the job and is qualified for the job is really important. But I have a lot of faith in young women. You know, they have been having a feminist moment for a long time, with their cultural heroes claiming feminism again. And I just believe that they are going to be our hope beyond women of my generation.

MONTAGNE: Lynn Povich wrote the book "The Good Girls Revolt," a landmark gender bias case at Newsweek that has been turned into an Amazon TV series. Thank you very much.

POVICH: Thanks so much, Renee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.