Sexual Harassment: A Feminist Phrase that Transformed the Workplace

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 24:2 (2012) 275-300

26 Pages Posted: 23 May 2013

See all articles by Constance Backhouse

Constance Backhouse

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This article is a first-person memoir from a co-author of the first Canadian book on sexual harassment. It attempts to recount, from one individual’s admittedly partial memory, some of the events that surrounded the early feminist efforts to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace. It tracks the events that culminated in the publication of Constance Backhouse and Leah Cohen’s The Secret Oppression: Sexual Harassment of Working Women (Toronto: Macmillan, 1978) and the public furor that greeted the book’s arrival. It focuses on the wider social, political, economic, and cultural context surrounding the debate over sexual harassment and tries to analyze to what extent concrete improvements arrived upon the heels of the demands for change.

Cette oeuvre est seulement disponible en anglais. Un résumé français suite.

Le présent article est une autobiographie de la coauteure du premier ouvrage canadien sur le harcèlement sexuel. Tout en admettant que ses souvenirs soient fragmentaires, elle relate certains des événements qui ont entouré les premiers efforts féministes visant à éradiquer le harcèlement sexuel en milieu de travail. L’article décrit les événements qui ont précédé la publication de l’ouvrage de Constance Backhouse et de Leah Cohen intitulé "The Secret Oppression: Sexual Harassment of Working Women" et la fureur du public à la sortie du livre. L’article porte sur l’ensemble du contexte social, politique, économique et culturel entourant le débat concernant le harcèlement sexuel et montre dans quelle mesure les changements exigés ont apporté des améliorations concrètes.

Keywords: Canada, Canadian, sexual, harassment, abuse, sex, feminist, feminism, workplace, professional, misconduct, Backhouse, Cohen, oppression, working, women, social, political, economic, cultural, context, anti-oppressive, history, historical, biography, biographical, work, environment, rights

Suggested Citation

Backhouse, Constance, Sexual Harassment: A Feminist Phrase that Transformed the Workplace (2012). Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 24:2 (2012) 275-300. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2268095

Constance Backhouse (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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