When allegations of serial sexual misconduct by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein broke in October, they triggered a cascading national reckoning over sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and beyond. In the weeks since, women have leveled charges against many high-profile men in entertainment and media, business and politics. As the accusations continue to erupt through the burgeoning #MeToo social media movement, many observers are wondering if the nation is finally beginning to deal with gender inequity.
Recognizing inappropriate behavior as harassment was a radical concept in 1979, when activist and attorney Catharine MacKinnon published “Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case of Sex Discrimination,” a groundbreaking book that tackled sexual discrimination in the workplace head-on. Seven years later, MacKinnon was co-counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court case that recognized such harassment as a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today the James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School tells the Gazette she is “inspired by the brilliance, heart, and grit of all the survivors who are speaking out and reflecting on their experiences of sexual violation, and being listened to.” And she said the downfall of so many powerful men is stunning, “especially given decades of stonewalling and recalcitrance and siding with abusers.” Read more >>>