Ginny Thomas reminds women we should be thanking Anita Hill

Anita Hill

This is an excerpt from an article by Devona Walker posted on AlterNet. You can read the full article at AlterNet.

The Anita Hill case was a turning point for American women, who have endured sexual harassment and gender bias on the job. Even though they dragged her name through the mud, she was unflappable on the stand and gave women everywhere in the U.S. courage to stand up and say “enough is enough.” Subsequent to her testimony the U.S. Supreme Court made employers more liable for sexual harassment in 1998. The Society for Human Resource Management has reported that 62 percent of companies now offer sexual harassment prevention training programs, and 97 percent have a written sexual harassment policy.

For those of us who knew Anita Hill told the truth, the appointment of Clarence Thomas was a defeat, a slap in the face.

But because she had the courage to speak out there were long-term consequences. There soon was national awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace. Between 1991 and 1996, awards to victims of sexual harassment under federal laws nearly quadrupled, from $7.7 million to $27.8 million.

Another repercussion was that women started getting involved in politics. The following year, in fact, the media heralded the 1992 election as the “Year of the Woman.” A record number of women ran for public office and won. In the U.S. Senate, eleven women ran and five won seats. In the House of Representatives, twenty-four women won new seats. Why? Because women across the country realized that the only reason her grievances were not taken seriously is because she was being judged by a Congress, not an electorate, who was 98 percent male at the time.

Read the full article here.

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