Taking on the Big Boys
List Price:$15.95
FP Price:$12.76

A former director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women, and a recipient of a Women of Vision Award from the Ms. Foundation, ELLEN BRAVO lectures nationwide and teaches women's studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She wrote The Job/Family Challenge: A 9to5 Guide (Not for Women Only) and is the co-author of The 9to5 Guide To Combating Sexual Harassment.

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Taking on the Big Boys

Or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business, and the Nation
Ellen Bravo

Gold Medal Winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award for Women’s Issues

Enough about "breaking the glass ceiling." Here are blueprints for a redesign of the entire building, ground up, to benefit women and men—and even the bottom line.

The feisty humor of Molly Ivins and the journalistic flair of Barbara Ehrenreich meet when longtime labor activist Ellen Bravo relates stories from business and government and women's testimonies from offices, assembly lines, hospitals, and schools. Bravo unmasks the patronizing, trivializing, and minimizing tactics employed by “the big boys” and their surrogates: They portray feminism as women against men, and they dismiss as outrageous demands for pay equity, family leave, and flex time. Practical tips on everything from dealing with a sexual harasser to getting family members to share chores (and build equal relationships) enliven many chapters.

Bravo argues for feminism as a system of beliefs, laws, and practices that fully values women and work associated with women, while detailing activist strategies to achieve a society where everybody—women and men—reach their potential.

"Taking on the Big Boys is not only an enormously valuable resource for anyone wanting to contribute to a better world, but a powerful and much-needed shot at combating the demonization of the F-word. This is a book to take into battle."

Bitch Magazine

"Bravo (Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) tackles issues and myths surrounding pay equity, the balance of work and home life, discrimination, and welfare. Even more useful are her realistic, attainable suggestions for change. A witty, statistically supported, and readable book that provides a strong message sure to foster ideas and generate debate. Summing Up: Highly recommended."


"[Bravo] takes attacks on the pay equity issue head on. Bravo enlightens the reader in a no-nonsense way on deep-seated workplace attitudes and practices that hinder women's progress on the pay front. More importantly she shows us how public policy is influenced through a variety of tactics used by opponents."

—Martha Burk

"Ellen Bravo not only vividly exposes workplace inequities, she gives real-life solutions, picking up where my film Nine to Five left off. . . . All working women must read this book!"

—Jane Fonda

"Smart, kind, funny, and very effective, [Bravo] has put her lifetime of organizing skills into Taking on the Big Boys."

—Gloria Steinem

Taking on the Big Boys is feminism at its butt-kicking best—an exposé, a manifesto, and a spirited, delightful read. I thought I knew a lot about women’s economic status before I read this book, but I had barely scratched the surface. Bravo for Bravo!”

—Barbara Ehrenreich

“Finally, an answer to the Mommy Wars and opting-out myth . . . Taking on the Big Boys shines a bright light on the pervasive bias against mothers who work along with the high price we all have to pay for failing to support parent's dual responsibilities. Happily fixing the problem is not only the right thing to do but good for everyone. Time to Take on the Big Boys! ”

—Joan Blades, cofounder of and

"Despite impressive progress, women in our society still face many challenges; they're fortunate to have champions like Ellen Bravo. She's a powerful advocate, and she makes clear in this excellent book that more needs to be done to achieve real equality, eliminate glass ceilings, reward work fairly, and strengthen families. Her proposals for reform will be of value to policy-makers, activists, and caring citizens alike."

—Senator Edward M. Kennedy

"Stop whatever you are doing and read this book! [This is] a call to arms no thinking person can refuse."

—Congresswoman Gwen Moore

"Ellen Bravo's book. . . is a fresh look at the classic women's issues that arise in the workplace. . . the information is accessible, presented with humor, solidly analytical, and yet easy to digest. . .in a way that will get people to listen."

—Jennifer O'Neal-Watts, Labor Studies Journal

"It's a myth-buster and an eye-opener . . . building the world we all need and deserve."

—Linda Chavez-Thompson, executive vice president, AFL-CIO