Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual (For a Sexist Workplace)

Jessica Bennett, Harper Wave, 336 pages, $24.99. The last 20 years has seen a reduction in many of the most blatant forms of workplace discrimination. A recent Harvard Business Review article reported, however, that subtle bias is often worse than the more overt variety. This could explain, in part, the stubborn persistence of the wage gap and continued underrepresentation of women in top corporate and professional roles. The good news is that there has been an explosion in detailed social science research documenting these subtler obstacles to women achieving their full professional potential. The most influential of books tackling the topic has been Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 best seller “Lean In.” Now comes Jessica Bennett’s “Feminist Fight Club,” which uses the same academic research base to speak to an entirely different demographic in an entirely different voice. It is “Lean In” conceived as an illustrated guide for millennials. Bennett’s book includes a “womanifesto” and a chapter subtitled “Carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man.” Despite its irreverent tone, “Feminist Fight Club” is grounded in academic research. Toward the end, it includes a helpful six-page letter to men. Until then, however, the book is chock-full of stories, drawings and mostly practical advice for working women. The topics covered range from lactation and power poses to negotiating raises and mentoring. Bennett manages to convey a remarkable amount of substance briskly and entertainingly.