Women's struggle for equal work and equal pay at the newspaper of record is the subject of Pulitzer-winning Robertson's...


"THE GIRLS IN THE BALCONY: Women, Men, and The New York Times"

Women's struggle for equal work and equal pay at the newspaper of record is the subject of Pulitzer-winning Robertson's lively new book--a century-long tale of courage, despair, and outright mulishness told with wit, candor, and great affection. When Robertson (Getting Better, 1988) came to work at The New York Times in 1955, she was met by a sea of white male faces confidently pounding out all the news that was fit to print--at least from their point of view. For two decades, female reporters at the proudly liberal paper would devote much of their energy to breaking the barrier in the all-male city room, coaxing male reporters at the Washington bureau to lunch with them, and forcing their way onto the tiny balcony of the National Press Club to take notes while male journalists dined below with governmental bigwigs. By the late 1960's, female employees had had enough. A newly formed Women's Caucus met with publisher Arthur Sulzberger to point out the gross disparities in hiring and pay between the sexes. The all-male management responded with hurt feelings and assurances of affirmative action--but nothing happened. In 1974, six female employees filed suit against the paper, resulting in a lengthy process of depositions and a settlement that provided some back pay and the promise of reform. Still, as one Women's Caucus president has pointed out, the company's follow-up apparently has been ""woefully inadequate,"" and despite a narrowing pay gap and diminished sexism, instances of the paper's ingrained sexual bias still seem to crop up. Nevertheless, Robertson's detailed profiles of Times employees, from Pulitzer-winning Anne O'Hare McCormick to Anna Quindlen--many of whom risked their careers for the sake of their beliefs--make this a virtual celebration of feminism, and her fascination with what made the people in power tick enhances her insider's view. Superlative journalism--sharp, detailed, and unsparing.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0595154646

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1991