Wednesday, June 22nd at 7:00 p.m.
In her highly praised book, Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women’s Lives at Work, Gillian Thomas, a prominent employment and women’s rights attorney, profiles ten of the most important Supreme Court sex discrimination cases involving women and work. Because of Sex, importantly, tells the whole story – the legal as well as personal struggles of the women who brought these landmark cases. Discover these trailblazers with Gillian Thomas in conversation with pioneering lawyer and feminist advocate Susan Estrich on Wednesday, June 22nd at 7:00 p.m. Talk, Q&A & Signing to follow.
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. 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; Mechelle Vinson, who brought a lawsuit for sexual abuse before “sexual harassment” even had a name; and most recently, Peggy Young, a UPS truck driver, forced to take an unpaid leave while pregnant because she asked for a temporary reprieve from heavy lifting.
“Giving faces to the names of women who brought these cases makes this book remarkable beyond the important historical perspective it offers.” – Elle
“Meticulously researched and rewarding to read… a gifted storyteller.” – The New York Times
Gillian Thomas is a Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, where she specializes in employment law. She has litigated employment discrimination cases as a Senior Trial Attorney with the EEOC’s New York District Office and as a Senior Staff Attorney with Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), as well as with private firms in New York and Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in outlets including The Atlantic, Slate, and CNN.com.
Susan Estrich is the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, and syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate. As a student, she was the first woman President of the Harvard Law Review and the chair of the Women’s Law Association’s Task Force on Placement. She began teaching at Harvard Law School in 1981, and was a tenured Professor of Law. She has been active in Democratic politics since 1980, and was the first woman to run a national Presidential campaign. She was a founding Board member of the Victims Rights Law Center, based in Boston; she was also a Presidential appointee to the United States Holocaust Museum Council. She is the author of seven books including Real Rape, Sex and Power, and The Case for Hillary Clinton. She is the mother of two children, ages 26 and 24.