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Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives at Work
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St. Martin's Publishing Group 2016
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"Meticulously researched and rewarding to read...Thomas is a gifted storyteller." —The New York Times Book Review

Best known as a monumental achievement of the civil rights movement, the 1964 Civil Rights Act also revolutionized the lives of America's working women. Title VII of the law made it illegal to discriminate "because of sex." But that simple phrase didn't mean much until ordinary women began using the law to get justice on the job—and some took their fights all the way to the Supreme Court. Among them were Ida Phillips, denied an assembly line job because she had a preschool-age child; Kim Rawlinson, who fought to become a prison guard—a "man's job"; Mechelle Vinson, who brought a lawsuit for sexual abuse before "sexual harassment" even had a name; Ann Hopkins, denied partnership at a Big Eight accounting firm because the men in charge thought she needed "a course at charm school"; and most recently, Peggy Young, UPS truck driver, forced to take an unpaid leave while pregnant because she asked for a temporary reprieve from heavy lifting.

These unsung heroines' victories, and those of the other women profiled in Gillian Thomas' Because of Sex, dismantled a "Mad Men" world where women could only hope to play supporting roles; where sexual harassment was "just the way things are"; and where pregnancy meant getting a pink slip.

Through first-person accounts and vivid narrative, Because of Sex tells the story of how one law, our highest court, and a few tenacious women changed the American workplace forever.

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Street Date:
03/08/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781466878976
ASIN:
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APA Citation (style guide)

Gillian Thomas. (2016). Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives at Work. St. Martin's Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Gillian Thomas. 2016. Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives At Work. St. Martin's Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Gillian Thomas, Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives At Work. St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Gillian Thomas. Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives At Work. St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: GILLIAN THOMAS is a Senior Staff Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Women's Rights Project. She previously litigated sex discrimination cases at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, and Slate, and she has been interviewed by NPR and The Wall Street Journal, among others. She lives in Brooklyn and is the author of Because of Sex.
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Because of Sex
fullDescription

"Meticulously researched and rewarding to read...Thomas is a gifted storyteller." —The New York Times Book Review

Best known as a monumental achievement of the civil rights movement, the 1964 Civil Rights Act also revolutionized the lives of America's working women. Title VII of the law made it illegal to discriminate "because of sex." But that simple phrase didn't mean much until ordinary women began using the law to get justice on the job—and some took their fights all the way to the Supreme Court. Among them were Ida Phillips, denied an assembly line job because she had a preschool-age child; Kim Rawlinson, who fought to become a prison guard—a "man's job"; Mechelle Vinson, who brought a lawsuit for sexual abuse before "sexual harassment" even had a name; Ann Hopkins, denied partnership at a Big Eight accounting firm because the men in charge thought she needed "a course at charm school"; and most recently, Peggy Young, UPS truck driver, forced to take an unpaid leave while pregnant because she asked for a temporary reprieve from heavy lifting.

These unsung heroines' victories, and those of the other women profiled in Gillian Thomas' Because of Sex, dismantled a "Mad Men" world where women could only hope to play supporting roles; where sexual harassment was "just the way things are"; and where pregnancy meant getting a pink slip.

Through first-person accounts and vivid narrative, Because of Sex tells the story of how one law, our highest court, and a few tenacious women changed the American workplace forever.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 25, 2016
        ACLU attorney Thomas does a stellar job of illustrating how Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act has dramatically improved working conditions for American women in this compulsively readable narrative that makes the law, and its history, accessible to lay readers. She grips from the very start, with an account of how the crucial three words, “because of sex,” were added to the section of the Civil Rights Act dealing with employment discrimination by an “unrepentantly racist male octogenarian,” Howard Smith, a U.S. Representative from Virginia. Thomas then traces the revolutionary developments that followed, as brave women fought the system, and won. Their triumphs are even more impressive because, as Thomas points out, they were “breaking new legal ground entirely.” Chapter after chapter humanizes the plaintiffs, such as Ida Phillips, whose hopes for a better job on an Orlando, Fla., assembly line were dashed when, in 1966, she was barred from applying for a job because she had a three-year-old at home. The author merges the personal stories with the legal intricacies of the litigation, and crafts a moving and informative account of a struggle for equality that remains incomplete.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 15, 2015
        An elucidating study of landmark sex-discrimination cases waged in the wake of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. A Brooklyn-based senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project, Thomas presents 10 cases that illustrate the early efforts by working women to find some equality and justice in the workplace, from being hired in jobs once the exclusive domain of men to protection from sexual harassment and from discrimination for pregnancy. A cadre of crusading attorneys and frustrated working women challenged the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency endowed by Title VII to enforce the statute--which included an amendment against sex discrimination almost as a risible afterthought--over many decades after the law's 1964 enactment, paving the way for the advances of working women today. Each case took years and moved all the way up to the Supreme Court. In 1966, receptionist Ida Phillips was outraged at being refused employment at missile manufacturer Martin Marietta in Orlando, Florida, for having preschool-age children and sought help from the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund. Her case (Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corporation, 1971) would be the first time the court would consider the meaning of Title VII's "because of sex" provision. In 1975, Brenda Mieth and Dianne Rawlinson challenged Montgomery, Alabama's official restrictions against hiring women as state troopers and prison guards (Dothard v. Rawlinson, 1977), and Mechelle Vinson's attempts to stop the hostile treatment by her supervisor at a Washington, D.C., bank became a groundbreaking case against sexual harassment in the workplace (Meritor Savings Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 1986). In the late 1980s, women workers at a Vermont car-battery manufacturer challenged the company's official "fetal protection" policy, which essentially relegated women to lower-paying jobs (International Union, United Auto Workers v. Johnson Controls, 1991). Thomas takes the cases one by one, delivering an eye-opening reference for lay readers. Although the author's well-delineated examples will ring outrageous to modern-day ears, she reminds us how much there is still to be achieved.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from January 1, 2016

        Thomas, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project and former litigator of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cases, knows whereof she writes in this eminently readable book. Title and subtitle say it all, as Thomas explores the genesis and evolution of Title VII, a groundbreaking chapter of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibits (among other things) discrimination "because of sex." Throughout its 50-year history, Title VII has enabled women to claim equal rights and equitable treatment in the workplace. As Thomas demonstrates, enforcement of the statute has been as difficult as its creation. The book introduces readers to ten remarkable women who pursued workplace injustice all the way to the Supreme Court, where they finally triumphed. These landmark cases--Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986), Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins (1989), and Harris v. Forklift Systems (1993) among them--chart the troubled journey to justice, as interpretation and concomitant ramifications of Title VII were fiercely litigated. VERDICT A riveting read, particularly for fans of Gail Collins's When Everything Changed. [See Prepub Alert, 9/28/15.]--Lynne Maxwell, West Virginia Univ. Coll. of Law Lib., Morgantown

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2016
        It has been more than 50 years since the Title VII Amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act was put into law. This landmark piece of legislation for working women came at a time when job opportunities were few, career advancement was unheard of, and pregnancy and even marriage could bring about instantaneous unemployment. In the years since, women have gone on to comprise almost half the country's work force while rising to the highest ranks in every profession. Yet those achievements weren't attained with the mere stroke of a pen. There were real women behind these accomplishments, women who had to sue for the freedoms that Title VII purported to have granted. Informed by personal legal experience and an abiding respect for the lawyers and clients involved, ACLU attorney Thomas examines 10 Supreme Court cases that challenged the status quo, chronicles the formidable legal obstacles overcome, and pays overdue tribute to the intrepid women who fought to end discrimination and right egregious wrongs against women seeking their civil rights.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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"Meticulously researched and rewarding to read...Thomas is a gifted storyteller." —The New York Times Book Review

Best known as a monumental achievement of the civil rights movement, the 1964 Civil Rights Act also revolutionized the lives of America's working women. Title VII of the law made it illegal to discriminate "because of sex." But that simple phrase didn't mean much until ordinary women began using the law to get justice on the job—and some took their fights all the way to the Supreme Court. Among them were Ida Phillips, denied an assembly line job because she had a preschool-age child; Kim Rawlinson, who fought to become a prison guard—a "man's job"; Mechelle Vinson, who brought a lawsuit for sexual abuse before "sexual harassment" even had a name; Ann Hopkins, denied partnership at a Big Eight accounting firm because the men in charge thought she needed "a course at charm school"; and most recently, Peggy Young, UPS truck driver,...

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Because of Sex One Law Ten Cases and Fifty Years That Changed American Womens Lives at Work
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One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives at Work
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