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Lin Farley Reflects On Changes For Women In The Workforce Since Coining ‘Sexual Harassment’ In 1975

Bert Johnson / Capital Public Radio

Dr. Lin Farley

Bert Johnson / Capital Public Radio

Journalist Lin Farley coined the term “sexual harassment” in April 1975 during a hearing on women in the workplace by the New York City Human Rights Commission when she was testifying as an instructor for Cornell University. The New York Times covered the hearing and the term spread around the globe, giving a new name to a very old problem for working women. Farley toured the US with her 1978 book “Sexual Shakedown: The Sexual Harassment of Women on the Job,” and consulted with the U.S. Department of Labor, the AFL-CIO, and civil rights organizations.

Farley wrote in an Op-Ed for the New York Times last October, a few days after the #MeToo letter rocked the state capitol in Sacramento:

“The decades since have been disappointing. The working women’s revolution I once envisioned hasn’t happened. But not only that, the term, which once held so much promise, has been co-opted, sanitized, stripped of its power to shock, disturb and galvanize. Today the term 'sexual harassment' may be ubiquitous; the behavior, unfortunately, remains ubiquitous, too.”

Dr. Lin Farley joins Insight to discuss the halting progress made against curbing sexual harassment in the workplace in four decades since that hearing in 1975.

You can see Dr. Lin Farley speak at two free public lectures on Wednesday, Oct. 17:

  • 12:00 p.m. in Davis at the UC Davis Genome and Biomedical Science Facility Auditorium — “Sexual Harassment Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow.”
  • 5:00 p.m. in Sacramento at the UC Davis Sacramento Campus Education Building, Matsui Lecture Hall — “Sexual Harassment: The Back Story!”

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