‘That’s What She Said’
Joanne Lipman, Morrow, 297 pages, $28.99.
The title “That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together” seems eerily prescient in light of our continuing national conversation about sexual politics in the workplace.
Joanne Lipman was until recently the editor in chief of USA Today and chief content officer of its parent company, Gannett, and as she documents in her book, even before the revelation this fall of the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual predation, men were already pretty freaked out about what they should and shouldn’t say to their female colleagues.
It’s a situation that one could argue has gotten only more complicated since Lipman began writing this investigation into why the gender gap and its offspring — the wage gap, the achievement gap, among others — persist, despite decades of near parity in the numbers of men and women who work.
Lipman has pitched her plea to men, as she understands that they need to be at the forefront of any systemic change, but she seems to understand that her primary readers will most likely be women.
While Lipman has sympathy for men in power, she offers a persuasive examination of the innumerable institutionalized prejudices, roadblocks and often unconscious undermining that women face in nearly every aspect of public and private life.
Some of her facts will be familiar to human resource directors, women’s studies scholars and reporters who cover gender equality. They will likely be revelatory to nearly everyone else. Lipman is a skilled assembler of data and a graceful storyteller.