Document 15: Lin Farley, Sexual Shakedown: The Sexual Harassment of Women on the Job (New York: Warner Books, 1980), pp. 11-17, 30-37, 49-68. Originally published in 1978.


   In this book, the first book-length treatment of sexual harassment, Farley described women's experiences of sexual harassment in both traditional and nontraditional jobs, using testimony from the 1975 speak-out, newspaper reports, court records, surveys, and personal interviews. She extensively quoted sexually harassed women and discussed the incidence and economic impact of harassment. Farley also discussed legal remedies and other ways to combat sexual harassment. Throughout the work, she emphasized her view of sexual harassment as being primarily rooted in a patriarchal system.



LIN FARLEY breaks the silence and opens the door to solving this "abuse of male power… Her evidence is damning… what she says is very important." -New York Times


For help with research I owe an invaluable debt to Sarah Elbert at SUNY, Binghamton; Frieda S. Rozen at the Pennsylvania State University; Robin Jacoby at the University of Michigan; Mae R. Carter at the University of Delaware; Martin Kasindorf of Newsweek; Barbara Wertheimer of Cornell University's Trade Union Women's Studies in New York City; and the understanding staff at the fine libraries of Cornell University.

   For her early aid to the idea of a book, thanks to Mary Bralove of The Wall Street Journal.

   Judy Burns, Cindy Carr, and Stevye Closterchiu are warmly thanked for their technical collaboration; and for their generous hospitality to me while traveling, a special thank-you to James Ford and Tammy Damon of San Francisco; Lexie Freeman in Washington, D.C.; Rue Wise in Los Angeles; Martha Steinhagen and Joan Nelson in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

   Robert Fitch is remembered for a wonderful bedside manner toward work in progress, Dr. Harriet Connolly for her intellectual clarity, attorney Bonnie Brower for her commitment to justice and her excellence, and Maida Gierasch for sharing this work with her friends.

   James Seligmann, my agent, is owed a deep debt of gratitude for his integrity.

   My fondest and most heartfelt regards to Betsy Damon, my loving critic, who also frequently fed me, always listened, and never failed in her encouragement. Grateful thanks also to Edith Rosenthal, who took the manuscript to task, thoughtfully, and to Janet Derderian and Linda Montegrano among the many co-counselors who saw me through my personal doubts.

   I want to thank Barbara Grant at McGraw-Hill for her valuable assistance. Blessings also to all the persons who consented to go on the record in connection with a controversial subject.

   Finally, to all the working women who share something of their lives in this book I want to express my boundless appreciation for their courage, their honesty, and their faith in themselves.


Preface 11
Introduction 14

Part One

1 Two Instances of Sexual Harassment 21
2 Sexual Harassment: A Profile 30
   How Does It Work? 33
   How Widespread Is It? 37
   How Do Women React? 41
3 The Historical Imperative 49
   Modern Male Control of Female Labor 50
   A History of Sexual Harassment 56
      The Practice Against White Women 60
      The Practice Against Black Women 63
      The Cover-up 65
4 The Contemporary Economic Influence 69
5 Sexual Harassment in Nontraditional Jobs 78
   All-Male Fields 80
   Mostly Male Fields 90
   Training 93
   Academic Preparation 99
   College Teaching 108
   The Professions 110
6 Sexual Harassment in Traditional Jobs 124
   Hiring Policies 126
   Older Working Women 131
   Job-Hunting 138
   The Revolving-Door Attitude 140
   The Pattern of Male Retribution 142
   Waitress Work 143
   The Young Working Woman 148

Part Two

7 The Law: Civil Remedies 165
8 Employers 192
9 Unions 203
10 Men 218
11 Social Coercion I: The Casting Couch 233
12 Social Coercion II: The Washington Sex Scandals 252
13 The Future 261
14 Eleven Ways to Fight Sexual Harassment 266
Notes 270
Index 280

p. 11


In the fall of 1974 I commenced teaching an extensive field-study course on Women and Work at Cornell University. Preparing for this moment had proved difficult because of a scarcity in analytical literature. As Elizabeth M. Almquist has explained: "… the research in the field is curiously devoid of theory, lacks policy implications…. Prestigious journals simply do not publish ‘think pieces’ that would direct the search for meaning and insight in the morass of facts and figures that are already available.1"* Faced with this reality I turned, as many women before me, to consciousness-raising, a remarkable tool for unlocking that vast storehouse of knowledge, women's own experiences.

   Our first "C-R" session was devoted to work, and my students and I determined at the outset to discipline ourselves to focus on what had happened to us on our jobs because we were women. As we each took our turn speaking, I was a peer; the group was a nearly equal division of black and white, with economic backgrounds ranging from very affluent to poor. Still, when we had finished, there was an unmistakable pattern to our employment. Something absent in all the literature, something I had never seen although I had observed it many times, was newly exposed. Each one of us had already quit or been fired from a job at least once because we

*Notes will be found on page 266.

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had been made too uncomfortable by the behavior of men.

   Provided with this insight, I investigated the possibility of this kind of pattern to women's employment with scores of other working women. The male behavior eventually required a name, and sexual harassment seemed to come about as close to symbolizing the problem as the language would permit. Months went by and, everywhere I raised the issue — by recounting their experiences — women continued to confirm this to be the reality of their working lives. There seemed little doubt a pattern existed. The important questions now were how widespread it was and what exactly it meant.

   Susan Meyer, Karen Sauvigne, and Carmita Wood joined with me in seeking the answers to these questions. At this juncture it took a certain measure of courage to declare publicly the name of something never before identified; Carmita Wood, a hard-working forty-four-year-old mother of four from the town of Ithaca, New York, suffered the destruction of her reputation in the process. We were doubted. However, more often we were aided by those who recognized the problem. Among these were Eleanor Holmes Norton, at that time Director of the New York City Human Rights Commission; Karen DeCrow, at that time NOW's National President; and Enid Nemy of The New York Times, who published the first nationally syndicated article about male sexual harassment.

   It wasn't too long before all kinds of working women who had never before identified themselves with the fight for women's rights were involved in the effort to bring this issue to light. With their help, the Women's Section at Cornell's Human Affairs Program distributed the first questionnaire ever devoted solely to this topic and almost simultaneously mounted a legal appeal, prepared by Ellen Yackin, contesting the denial of unemployment compensation in a sexual harassment case. These women also helped to organize the first Speak-Out

p. 13

on Sexual Harassment, and many of those who "testified" that day will be found in the pages of this book.

   The Speak-Out marked the beginning of a grass-roots organization of working women committed to fighting male sexual harassment. Jean McPheeters, Heather Thomas, Sandy Rubaii, Connie Korbel, Patricia Dougher, Diedre Silverman, Glo Webel, Lorraine Hodgson, Jody Berg, Susan Madar, and many more women than can be named here began to contribute to the process of better documenting the significance of this male behavior. We were soon joined, as a result of the New York Times article, by working women from across the nation. They sent us their experiences and their ideas; the mailbox bulged with news and information, including a letter that enclosed a twenty-dollar bill. The message was brief: "To help with the fight against sexual harassment. I can't sign my name."

   The Human Affairs Program was terminated by Cornell University at the close of the 1976 school year. It was the end of the beginning of this book. I have shared this beginning for many reasons, not the least of which has been to acknowledge the working women who made it possible. However, I have also become alarmed over the years by an attitude that, because it probably would have happened anyway, the origin of this issue isn't worth remembering. This attitude ignores human initiative; breakthroughs in information with which to shape our future do not just accrue by osmosis even when we are inhaling the air of the right historical period. Moreover, the history of our process and our victories can never be inconsequential because it combats the tendency to resignation, which is how we all cope much too often. In essence, then, when we dismiss our history, we are abandoning the opportunity to reinforce a tradition without which we cannot bring our subjugation to an end.

New York City 1978

p. 14


For almost two decades our society has been undergoing a changing social awareness about what constitutes acceptable standards of behavior between the sexes. New information by women about the quality of their lives has often been the catalyst for this new consciousness. The sexual harassment of women on-the-job is the most recent illustration of this process. By testifying in their own behalf working women have begun to lay bare the male coercion, often masquerading as sexual initiative and frequently backed by the force of higher rank at work, which has been their daily fare on-the-job. Such male behavior is in sharp violation of ideas of equality, and the neutrality of work. Among the many concerns of this book are the psychological, sociological, ideological, ethical, legal and economic questions which are now being brought to bear in this new controversy, but underlying all of them there is still one central issue. Do women have to acquiesce to sex or sexual behavior from men-on-the-job in order to participate in wage-work in our society?

   Public exposure of this abuse has been permeated by a notion that the sexual harassment of working women is of only minor concern in comparison with the whole battery of injustices that beset women at work, particularly the lack of equal pay with men. However, there is no aspect of women's deplorable situation at work today, be it economic or otherwise, that has not either been created

p. 15

or maintained by this behavior and the way working women respond to it. This is because patriarchal relations, not capitalism, are at the root of working women's problems.

   To begin at the beginning, although it cannot be said often enough, our society is first, last and foremost a patriarchy. Essentially, this means that it is a social system organized according to a principle of male rule and that it is this principle that shapes the matrix of systems such as democracy and capitalism which for the present characterize our particular kind of patriarchy. Throughout successive epochs the patriarchy has maintained itself by generating ideas that legitimize, i.e. make acceptable, the very conditions which make this rule possible. Enter male sexual harassment, which has until recently been a completely acceptable idea -- although it is by this fiat that male aggression toward working women has been extensively practiced, a pratice that has kept working women both individually and collectively locked into a position of economic inferiority. Men accordingly have successfully insured their domination of modern work, hence society, because the patriarchy cannot lose control of its material base. The sexual harassment of working women is an issue of enormous significance. In light of this, underrating the extent and importance of the abuse is probably a result of an historically inadequate analysis of women and work which has continued right up to the present day.

   As an example of this, much has been written over the last decade about a feminist success in women's employment; this is largely measured by the increased numbers of women who are working outside the home. However, this is less a result of feminism than it is a consequence of the expansion of the service sector in our increasingly service-oriented economy. In addition, women's overall employment conditions compared to those of men have deteriorated. The head of the department of Economics at American University, Nancy Smith Barrett, in

p. 16

a reference to women's increased labor force participation in the sixties wrote, "… the average job status of women relative to men actually declined during the period and the male-female earnings gap widened."1 This is not surprising. The concentration of working women in a few over-crowded job categories which is the cause of these problems is virtually the same as it was in 1900. Edward Gross has explained this in an "index of segregation." By computing the percentage of women in the labor force who would have to change jobs in order for the occupational distribution of women workers to match that of men, Gross's index showed that female sex segregation was 66.9 in 1900, 68.4 in 1960 and the index had not substantially altered in 1974.2

   The only major feminist success in recent women's employment, then, is what Barrett went on to describe as "a growing recognition that a problem existed."3 This is true and this recognition of inequality resulted in three federal mandates to guarantee women equal pay and equal employment opportunity. The enforcement of these three mandates, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Executive Order Number Four began in some cases with sweeping court suits to repair damages to female employees and to correct sex discrimination in the future. Affirmative action plans have resulted and these plans in conjunction with what would have to be rather stringent enforcement are now considered the primary hope for women's employment opportunities.

   Unfortunately, this strategy ignores the way men have patriarchalized capitalism and as a consequence the optimism is poorly grounded. Unequal pay, lack of promotion and poor opportunities are often only symptoms. Meanwhile, job segregation by sex is to a large degree sustained by male sexual harassment. This abuse is already rolling back the momentum of affirmative action and it will continue to coerce women by the means of severe economic and emotional abuse into over-crowded, sexually-segregated

p. 17

job categories. These occupations are tantamount to a female job ghetto and this is a primary cause of women's low wages. At the same time the abuse also impacts destructively within this ghetto, disrupting female job attachment, promoting female unemployment and inhibiting female solidarity. Until we understand sexual harassment, its historical function, the way it has been used to keep women ‘in line’ and the way this coercion interacts with women's employment conditions, women will remain an exploited underclass, the female workhorses in a male-managed economy.

p. 30

Sexual Harassment:
A Profile

The sexual harassment of working women has been practiced by men since women first went to work for wages. It is a practice that until now has gone virtually unchallenged, largely as the result of a wide social acceptance of such behavior. For evidence of this we have only to refer to the countless jokes and cartoons about women and work that characterize much of our popular culture. A random survey of two 1970 issues of Reader's Digest, probably the most widely read compendium of American humor, turned up the following:

One shapely young secretary to another: "I like my longer midi dress, especially when it comes to taking dictation. The boss's letters are so much shorter."

-- From "Cartoon Quips"1*

The discouraging rumor that United Air Lines would lower the hemlines on stewardesses' uniforms to a point well below the knee prompted this agonized question: "May we no longer eye the friendly thighs of United?"

-- From "Laughter the Best Medicine"2

   Both these jokes imply that men will express their time-honored right of sexual initiative toward working women, and it is the power to do this that provides the

*Notes begin on page 266.

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axis on which the humor turns. In the first joke we laugh at the victim's puny effort to subvert this power; in the second we are expected to laugh at the cute male reproach that this power should be encroached upon. Also, in the latter joke the real feelings of the women involved are completely ignored, as if irrelevant.

   We have here a re-enactment of social attitudes about sexual harassment; either women's feelings about it don't matter or, even if women don't like it, there is no escape from it. The humor is both a function of our identification with power in a male supremacist culture and a mask for hiding the widespread damage done to the majority of working women as a result of sexual harassment.

   The use of humor à la ridicule and satire to keep oppressed people in their place is well known; the Step'n-Fetch-It of yesteryear is only one familiar example. This image, whose purpose is to reinforce abuse and degradation by seeming to invite it, has a female equivalent in the dumb, big-busted secretary -- a deliberate male caricature whose sole purpose is to reinforce the right of men to harass, control, and/or abuse working women sexually. It accomplishes this by undermining woman's role as worker, then reinforcing their use as sex objects by implying that they invite it. The message is conveyed that if women are going to make themselves sexual game, men have a license, even an obligation, to hunt. There is no glimpse here of the real working woman, a hard-working and important contributor to the work force; only a derisive facsimile drawn to the specifications of male desire. As with all stereotypes, this myth has been widely promulgated until it is believed as true. This deception has provided a cover for men to assert their sexual claims with impunity so long as the price in human suffering was smothered in hilarious laughter.

   The turning point occurred when working women stopped laughing. On September 30, 1976, anyone who cared to dial New York Telephone's Dial-a-Joke could

p. 32

hear Milton Berle give the following discourse on secretaries:

One guy I know has a secretary with measurements of 45-23-45, and she's an expert touch typist. She's got to be. She can't see the keys. But this guy's really got trouble. His wife walked in on him one day and saw his secretary sitting on his lap. She said, "What does this mean?" And he said, "Dear, business has been so lousy I'm studying to be a ventriloquist."

   Failing to laugh on cue, a group of working women from the Women Office Workers of New York City scheduled an unsmiling visit with the director of Dial-a-joke. It was the end of all such "jokes" to be aired by the New York Telephone Company.3

   This particular company wasn't the first to find its sense of humor out of line. It was almost as if America went to bed one night laughing its collective head off only to wake up and find it had insulted two-fifths of the work force. Sheer numbers began to force a new sensibility about female workers; it was strengthened by the impact of ideas spilling over from the women's movement. Blasts at male mythology continued. Although the dumb, big-busted stereotypical female worker and her constellation of power/sex scenarios were never directly assaulted, the male joke that produced them went on the defensive. This retreat of male humor combined with the new sensibility about working women to permit the first widespread public rebuke of sexual harassment.

   The full importance of this must not be underestimated; it is a radical change. The phrase sexual harassment is the first verbal description of women's feelings about this behavior and it unstintingly conveys a negative perception of male aggression in the workplace. With this new awareness, sociologists, psychologists, and management experts are now re-examining the matrix of male-female relations in the workplace. Working women are becoming more outspoken and the legality of male aggression

p. 33

at work is being challenged. And for the first time, studies documenting a wide pattern of sexual coercion are being publicized. The significance of these developments for working women is almost unfathomable. Our understanding of men, women, and work will never be the same again.


   Sexual harassment is best described as unsolicited nonreciprocal male behavior that asserts a woman's sex role over her function as worker. It can be any or all of the following: staring at, commenting upon, or touching a woman's body; requests for acquiescence in sexual behavior; repeated nonreciprocated propositions for dates; demands for sexual intercourse; and rape. These forms of male behavior frequently rely on superior male status in the culture, sheer numbers, or the threat of higher rank at work to exact compliance or levy penalties for refusal. The variety of penalties include verbal denigration of a woman sexually; noncooperation from male co-workers; negative job evaluations or poor personnel recommendations; refusal of overtime; demotions; injurious transfers and reassignments of shifts, hours, or locations of work, loss of job training; impossible performance standards and outright termination of employment. Sexual harassment also frequently influences many hiring situations, as when companies employ across-the-board policies of hiring only those women who are attractive sex objects regardless of skills, or where there will be an outright demand for some form of sexual behavior which will result in the reward of the job while refusal will result in a nonhire.

   Disapproval of sexual harassment tends to focus on demands for sex as a condition of hiring as well as for keeping a job. These are considered serious manifestations of sexual coercion, while generalized staring, commenting, touching, and other forms of male familiarity are

p. 34

regarded as merely annoying and of little consequence. The outright demand for sex appears more serious because the economic penalties for noncompliance are easily discernible and the consequences to both the woman who refuses and the woman who submits against her will are easily imagined. Sexual harassment is nevertheless an act of aggression at any stage of its expression, and in all its forms it contributes to the ultimate goal of keeping women subordinate at work.

   Adrienne Rich has written that men maintain the patriarchy in part through "etiquette."4 Her choice of words in this context is interchangeable with what psychologist Nancy Henley has described as the "micropolitics" of human interactions.5 A close look at male sexual harassment leaves no doubt the name of the game is dominance. As Erving Goffman has explained in The Nature of Deference and Demeanor, superordinates can often be identified by the exercising of familiarities which the subordinate is not allowed to reciprocate. He cites these familiarities as touching, teasing, informal demeanor, using familiar address, and asking for personal information.6 Further clues to the communication of power between persons have been established by Michael Argyle. These include: bodily contact, physical proximity and position, gestures, posture, nodding or smiling, and silences or interruptions.7 It is also generally agreed that those who communicate dominance will initiate standing closer, precipitate touching, and interrupt freely.

   Eye contact is another dimension important to any micropolitical power analysis. In this realm, according to George Maclay and Humphry Knipe, staring can be characterized as a threat display.8 Henley has also described touching as "one of the closer invasions of one's personal space…. It is even more a physical threat than space violation, pointing, or staring, perhaps a vestige of the days when dominance was determined by physical prowess."9

   In view of this, women's statements about sexual

p. 35

harassment -- "He would always stand right on top of me"; "He was always staring at me"; "He'd always manage to rub against me" -- are articulations of the way men use these gestures to assert dominance. In her article "The Politics of Touch" Henley says, "Some typical dominant gestures which may evoke submissive ones are staring directly at a person, pointing at a person and touching a person." She also noted that "Corresponding gestures of submission, all of them common to women, include lowering the eyes, shutting up or not even beginning to speak when pointed at, and cuddling to the touch."10 Women stand up to these male assertions of dominance with extreme difficulty -- or at the very least uneasily. They have been socialized to powerlessness -- in Henley's words, to "docility and passivity."11

   It is a matter of sex-role conditioning. The essential nature of women's and men's conditioning has been well documented in the last ten years, but its importance to this discussion warrants a brief restatement. Social psychologists Harriet Connolly and Judith Greenwald explain:

In our culture the importance of sex-role conditioning cannot be underestimated. In general, boys learn to be independent, to initiate action, to be task-oriented, rational, analytical. In contrast, girls are schooled in empathy, noncompetitiveness, dependency, nurturance, intuitiveness. These standards continue to provide the model for "normal" behavior and exert a powerful demand for conformity throughout adult life.

   Female passivity is further encouraged by social confusion. Because men possess the right of sexual initiative, the communication of power and dominance by men is generally discounted as mere sexual interest. Nevertheless, as Henley has explained, "Even those who put forward a sexual explanation for males' touching of females have to admit that there is at least a status overlay: female factory workers, secretaries, students, servants and waitresses

p. 36

are often unwillingly felt or pinched but women of higher status (e.g. ‘boss ladies,’ ‘first ladies,’ and ‘ladies’ in general) aren't."12

   That sex is hardly the real meaning of much male behavior at work is further indicated by testing the results. A recent study of female response to touching by male co-workers showed that the female respondents were "unattracted and unaroused." Catherine Radecki, a graduate student at the University of Delaware, conducted the study among forty women at three different worksites. As a result of her research she concluded the "women were somewhat disgusted, unaroused, unexcited, turned off, insulted, not attracted by or disliked the experience of men at work touching them."13

   Whether it results from unsolicited demands for sex as a condition of working, or from the pressure of unsolicited daily intimidation, sexual harassment is described by Connolly and Greenwald as including the following elements:

Structurally, both types of actions usually are initiated by someone with power against someone with lesser power, not the other way around. In a word, they are nonreciprocal. The second structural similarity is the element of coercion, that is, it is either stated or implied there will be negative consequences if the woman refuses to acquiesce and/or comply. These actions function to assert superior power. As a result the consequences for the victims are much the same. All sexual harassment is a stressful experience and ego functioning may well be seriously impaired. The victim is violated either physically or psychologically and she experiences a loss of autonomy and control.

   Because sexual harassment is an assertion of male power that undermines the autonomy and personhood of female workers, the generalized expressions of dominance must be condemned and eradicated, by both men and women, certainly no less vigorously than specific demands for sex.

p. 37

   Says Henley: "Men should become conscious of their tactual interaction with women especially, and guard against using touch to assert authority … women similarly have a responsibility to themselves to refuse to accept tactual assertion of authority -- they should remove their hands from the grasp of men who hold them too long and remove men's hands from their person when such a touch is unsolicited and unwanted…."14

*    *    *

p. 49

The Historical Imperative

The patriarchy has perpetuated itself through insuring the subordination of female labor by endlessly maintaining and adapting its systems of hierarchical control. Before capitalism, for example, men controlled the work of women and children in the family. The emergence of capitalism, however, threatened this base of control by instituting a "free" market in labor. Capitalism, writes economist Heidi Hartmann, "threatened to bring all women and children into the labor force and hence to destroy the family and the basis of the power of men over women (i.e., the control over their labor power in the family)."1

   The critical question remains: if capitalism would have equalized laborers in the marketplace, regardless of sex, why are women still in an inferior position at work today? There are a score of possible answers, but more and more evidence has begun to identify the most important factor as job segregation by sex. Hartmann writes:

Job segregation … is the primary mechanism in capitalist society that maintains the superiority of men over women because it enforces lower wages for women in the labor market. Low wages keep women dependent on men because they encourage women to marry. Married women must perform domestic chores for their husbands. Men benefit, then, from both higher wages and the domestic division of labor. This domestic division of labor, in turn, acts to weaken women's position in the labor market. Thus, the hierarchical domestic

p. 50

division of labor is perpetuated by the labor market and vice versa.2

   From the beginning, women entered wage-labor handicapped by the patriarchy that influenced capitalist development. Male dominance was already beginning to express itself in some sex-ordered jobs, with women's work offering lower pay, demanding less skill, and involving less exercise of authority or control. However, male workers soon effectively turned a trend into an ironclad tradition. Hartmann explains:

   "Men acted to enforce job segregation in the labor market; they utilized trade union associations and strengthened the domestic division of labor which required women to do housework, child care and related chores."3


   Originally, in England, the rise of capitalism required little adjustment in the prevailing male methods of control, since the early factories utilized a family industrial system. Men could hire their own children for assistants, and whole families were often employed by the same factory for the length of the same day. When technological change made this system obsolete around 1840, male factory workers began to switch their demands of the preceding two decades from continuing the family system to limiting work for children. According to Neil Smelser, the effect of the subsequent child labor laws was that parents began to have difficulty with child care. The remedy then proposed by male workers and a majority of the upper and middle classes was to remove women from the factories.4 Frederick Engels described the concerns about women workers that readily facilitated the auspiciousness of this remedy; "incapacity as housekeepers, neglect of home and children; indifference, actual dislike

p. 51

to family life … the crowding out of men from employment … husbands supported by their wives and children."5

   It is about this period in English history that one finds male workers beginning to drive women out of industry, chiefly by means of trade unions. This prompted Engels to refer to these unions as elite organizations of grown-up men interested solely in their own benefits and not in benefits for workers who happened to be women or children. Hartmann explains:

   "That male workers viewed the employment of women as a threat to their jobs is not surprising, given an economic system where competition among workers was characteristic. That women were paid lower wages exacerbated the threat. But why their response was to attempt to exclude women rather than to organize them is explained, not by capitalism, but by patriarchal relations between men and women: men wanted to assure that women would continue to perform the appropriate tasks at home."6

   Needless to say, the male unions were successful in creating the widespread idea that women belonged at home and men's wages therefore should be increased since they should be paid on a family basis. Because men were never able to force women out of the labor market entirely, however, union policy eventually adapted by evolving a strategy of confining women to women's jobs. This was accomplished by denying them training. In 1891 Sidney Webb, in the Webb-Rathbone-Fawcett- Edgeworth series of articles in the British Economic Journal justified women's lower wages on the ground that women rarely did the same grade of work as men, but he also admitted that the male unions were intransigent in permitting women to gain equal skills.7

   The full effect of this policy crystallized at the end of World War I, when -- as is usual in time of war -- more women had worked and performed many jobs normally reserved for men. Women consequently expected better

p. 52

employment prospects. Millicent Fawcett wrote in 1918 that equal pay for equal work was now possible. She reasoned that the integration of females throughout the entire work force would demand this equality of pay if men's wages were not to be undercut. The only obstacles in the path of this realization were male unions and social customs, she said, since they both led to an overcrowding in women's jobs -- a condition which, of course, deflated women's wages.8 In 1922, F. Y. Edgeworth formalized Fawcett's observations into an overcrowding model. Job segregation by sex, he said, produces a surplus in the supply of workers in the female sector so that male wages are raised while female wages are lowered. Edgeworth explained: "The pressure of male trade unions appears to be largely responsible for that crowding of women into comparatively few occupations, which is universally recognized as a main factor in the depression of their wages."9

   We have, then, as early as 1922, a depiction of the effect of male policy in forcing female workers into "women's jobs," as well as a clear indication of the way men adapted their techniques of hierarchical regulation to ensure their continued control of female labor.

   American workingmen never entertained the idea of excluding women from the work force totally, since American capitalism frequently turned to female labor power. This is a pattern throughout American economic history that has continued to the present, with the post-World War II expansion of female employment.

   In many cases female employment opportunities have been the consequence of a field being abandoned by men who forced women out of more skilled jobs while simultaneously apportioning them occupations of only the most monotonous and dead-end nature. Job segregation then lowered women's wages even in those few skilled occupations which became associated with women. One example is public-school teaching, where wages became notoriously low.10 Clerical work too offers a good illustration

p. 53

of this process. When the increased demand for these workers first appeared, there simply were not enough males with a high school education equal to the need; but, even more, the subdivision of the tasks and the introduction of machines had changed the job structure. Hartmann writes this "reduced its attractiveness to men -- with expansion the jobs became dead-end ones -- while for women the opportunities compared favorably with their opportunities elsewhere."11

   Much of the literature of the late nineteenth century tied this changing sex composition of jobs to technological factors and biological sex differences, but the role of unions and male workers cannot be denied. Edith Abbott indicates the way male workers enforced the sex composition of jobs in an incident that involved mule spinners, a machine traditionally operated by males in the textile industry. According to Abbott, a woman had learned to run "the mule" in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and then she moved to Waltham when "mules" were introduced there. The woman apparently had to leave, however, because (according to a male operative), "The men made unpleasant remarks and it was too hard for her, being the only woman."12 As Hartmann writes, "Social pressures were powerful mechanisms of enforcement."13

   American trade union policy also maintained job segregation by turning the British program of exclusion into one of limited participation. The form for this was "protective" legislation for female workers. The policy of the Cigarmakers International Union is a good example of the way this strategy evolved. In 1878, twenty years after the union had publicly stopped excluding females, according to Elizabeth Baker, a Baltimore local wrote Adolf Strasser, the Cigarmakers' president, "We have combatted from its incipiency the movement of the introduction of female labor in any capacity whatever, be it bunch maker, roller or what not."14 One year later, according to Andrews and Bliss, Strasser himself would say, "We cannot drive the females out of the trade, but

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we can restrict their daily quota of labor through factory laws: No girl under 18 should be employed more than eight hours per day; all overwork should be prohibited …."15

   This kind of attitude has been interpreted by many as a justified hostility to unskilled labor rather than as a hostility to women per se but, as Hartmann writes, "Male unions denied women skills while they offered them to young boys.16 The American unions were as determined in this policy as were their British counterparts. In printing, for example, women had been typesetters from Colonial times; it was a skilled trade that required no heavy work. However, they were eventually driven out by the National Typographical Union, which in 1854 declared it would not "encourage by its act the employment of female compositors."17 As a result women were forced to learn what they could in nonunion shops or as strikebreakers. In fact, Susan B. Anthony was refused a seat at the annual National Labor Convention of 1869 on the grounds she had encouraged women to serve as scabs. (As Gail Falk has explained, Anthony freely admitted she had so encouraged women compositors. Her actions, she said, were the direct result of union policy because women could learn the trade no other way.)18

   Male unionists discouraged women in more ways than just union policy. In 1870 the National Typographical Union agreed to charter a woman's local in New York City, but union men would not support the fledgling local and it died before the end of eight years. In the words of Augusta Lewis, its president, "It is the general opinion of female compositors that they are more justly treated by what is termed "rat" foremen, printers, and employers than they are by union men."19

   The printers' union was no isolated exception in the mainstream of American union attitudes; if anything, this union was a trend-setter. This is evident in Edith Abbott's 1910 statement that "Officers of other trade unions

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frequently refer to the policy of the printers as an example of the way in which trade union control may be successful in checking or preventing the employment of women."20 The typographical union, incidentally, backed equal pay for equal work; it was the means by which men protected their own wage scale, since, as Hartmann writes, "Women who had fewer skills could not demand, and expect to receive, equal wages."21

   As long as barring women could place them in a position to strike-break, the overall male union strategy had to continue its efforts to cripple the competitive market power of female labor. The drive for "protective" legislation began to gather momentum. Eventually it gained wide popular support, and by 1908 the Supreme Court upheld a maximum-hours law for women. This decision was a major victory for male workers. Even though it wasn't long before there was a similar decision about men, this was never followed -- as it was in relation to women -- by a flurry of state maximum-hours laws. Hartmann explains, "Unions did not support protective legislation for men, although they continued to do so for women. Protective legislation, rather than organization, was the preferred strategy for women."22 As a result, female competition against men was successfully curtailed and the maintenance of job segregation further assured.

   There are many who argue that this particular impact of "protective" legislation is overrated, since narrow coverage and inadequate enforcement softened its effect. However, this ignores the fact that wherever male unions had a foothold they could now conjure up the specter of the law to deny women opportunities. In many occupations where long hours and night work were essential, as in printing, women were successfully excluded. Hartmann writes, "While the law may have protected women in the ‘sweated’ trades, women who were beginning to get established in ‘men's jobs’ were turned back."23 The devastating impact of the laws on women's overall employment

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cannot be discounted. As Ann C. Hill has explained, they confirmed women's "alien"24 status as a worker.

   Attacks on this alienation of women from work outside the home are receiving a relatively popular reception at present. This change is the result of two influences occurring back to back. The first is that business has had a big stake in encouraging non-working segments of the female population to meet the rising demand in the service sector, a traditionally female field. The second is the curtain that still hides the on-going role of male workers in hamstringing female competition and in isolating women inside a female job ghetto. Nearly a century has passed since the results of this male stratagem were first noted, and yet the flawed motto of "equal pay for equal work" has become the renewed rallying cry for improving women's working conditions. Equal work and equal pay is more to the point. Even so, this still ignores the importance of male sexual harassment. Its influence on the sex composition of jobs was noted earlier in this chapter. This is a significant aspect of male practice, but it is one that will be dealt with in the present period. Historically, sexual harassment has had an effect that can no longer be countenanced today.


   Sexual harassment of working women accompanied the new methods developed to control female labor with the rise of capitalism. The historical record is unofficial, a patchwork pieced together from letters, recorded conversations, interviews, women's writings, and newspaper articles that often mentioned the abuse only incidentally. It is nevertheless clear enough. The practice of sexual harassment throughout much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries contributed to the premature deaths of an incalculably large number of working women.

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   Understanding the full past impact of sexual harassment requires a reminder about the Victorian era. This was the golden age of the double standard in sex relations. All attitudes of public morality weighed hard on women. Elisha Bartlett, M.D., made this patently clear in his 1841 article, "A Vindication of the Character and Condition of the Females Employed in the Lowell Mills…."25 In this article on conditions of factory morality Bartlett declared: "It is only by maintaining an unsullied and unimpeachable character that a girl can retain her situation in the mill, and when dismissed for any impropriety from one establishment, there is no possibility of her getting a place in any of the others…." It would be hard to find a situation more ripe for exploitation when the mere imputation of bad conduct from any mill authority could literally drive a woman out of town. In addition, the climate of the times made it extremely difficult for a woman accused of sexual wrongdoing to clear herself, since mere accusation tended to smear her reputation irrevocably.

   Illustrative of this is the report of a trial in an 1846 issue of the Voice of Industry, a magazine of the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association.26 According to the paper a "lady" who had worked for the Middlesex Corporation under an overseer named Snow "left his employ or was dismissed ‘irregularly’ … and he is charged with having circulated slanderous reports relative to her character to prevent her obtaining work elsewhere." There had been two previous trials. In the first Snow was fined five hundred dollars and costs; in the second the jury could not agree, "though ten were in favor of his conviction." In this, the third trial, the case was decided against the woman.

   "It is important," the article concluded, "to break up the infamous conspiracy of the agents in this place to libel the characters of all who are turned out of their employment or leave irregularly that they may deprive them of work in other factories and drive them out of the city."

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   Subsistence wages contributed to the mortal danger sexual harassment posed for these early working women. Most female wage-earners barely eked out the necessities of life from their weekly earnings. In the face of this economic reality and the prevailing moral code, the sexual advance was disastrous. To refuse invariably resulted in retaliation, which commonly ended in either a decrease in present wages or losing the job altogether, the sure road to starvation. At the same time, to accept was sure damnation; after this marriage was out of the question and future employment was also forbidden. Prostitution was the only remaining option. As a result of widespread sexual harassment, many former working women swelled the ranks of prostitutes into numbers which have never been equaled throughout American history. The phenomenon was much lamented in the press of the time. There was less sighing, however, over the venereal disease that regularly killed these women within two or three years.27

   Sexual harassment (before the arrival of cheap immigrant labor) was somewhat affected by the periodic pushpull between capitalism and man's patriarchal imperative. The early manufacturers, concerned with attracting and insuring a ready supply of domestic labor, strove to appear above reproach. The Lowell Manufacturing Company in 1836 stated that it would not "continue to employ any person who shall be wanting in proper respect to the females employed by the company."28 However, with the arrival of cheap foreign labor the abuse became endemic. Manufacturers no longer cared either to make the effort to restrain their managers or even to give the appearance of doing so.

   Upton Sinclair's searing exposé The Jungle (1905) portrayed the struggle for survival by the Lithuanian peasants Jurgis Rudkus and his wife Ona in Chicago's giant meat-packing industry. The book caused a sensation, although not for the pervasive sexual harassment it unsparingly revealed; this was a given. Sinclair explains that Ona

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was subject to sexual abuse at her job and that "she would not have stayed a day, but for starvation, and as it was she was never sure that she could stay the next day."

But there was no place a girl could go in Packing-town, [Sinclair continued] if she was particular about things of this sort; there was no place in it where a prostitute could not get along better than a decent girl. Here was a population, low-class and mostly foreign, hanging always on the verge of starvation, and dependent for its opportunities of life upon the whim of men every bit as brutal and unscrupulous as the oldtime slave drivers; under such circumstances immorality was exactly as inevitable, and as prevalent, as it was under the system of chattel slavery. Things that were quite unspeakable went on there in the packing houses all the time, and were taken for granted by everybody; only they did not show, as in the old slavery times, because there was no difference in color between master and slave.29

   The sexual exploitation described in The Jungle was an accurate reflection of a daily reality. It was not a reality of general concern (except to the victims) and it never became a popular cause. But the consequences were a matter of life and death well into the twentieth century. Andrew J. Cawley of the Bronx attests to this in a letter he wrote to the wife of William Sulzer, the governor of New York. It was dated January 5, 1913, and written to Mrs. Sulzer a few days after her husband's inaugural in the hope she would exert influence on the new governor to get Mrs. Cawley out of jail. "I can't understand why the man who wronged her is at liberty," Cawley wrote. "His wife was alive when this happened and my wife says he asked her to come to his office in reference to getting employment in the health department. It was while there that he locked the door and attacked her which was not right…." At other points in the letter Cawley had explained that they had one young daughter, that his wife was pregnant, and that he was unemployed. There is no way to know if the Sulzers intervened.30

The Practice Against White Women

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   In 1887 a remarkable woman journalist, Helen Campbell, investigated the circumstances of working women and published the results in a book titled Prisoners of Poverty. About the authenticity of her information Campbell wrote it was "based upon minutest personal research … it is a photograph from life; and the various characters, whether employers or employed, were all registered in case corroboration were needed."31 Although Campbell had never heard the words sexual harassment, the practice turned up repeatedly.

   When they could, working women sometimes aided one another in the face of such coercion, as exemplified by the story of Rose Haggerty, who was protected in her first work at home by an older woman who would daily pick up each of their sewing bundles, assuming the additional burden of delivering Haggerty's to her. Campbell explained this was so "the agent had no opportunity to follow out what had now and then been his method, and hint to the girl that her pretty face entitled her to concessions that would be best made in a private interview."32

   This is Campbell's description of the prevailing employment practices: "The swarming crowd of applicants are absolutely at the mercy of the manager or foreman, who, unless there is a sudden pressure of work, makes the selections according to fancy, youth and any gleam of prettiness being unfailing recommendations. There are many firms of which this could not be said with any justice. There are many more in which it is the law, tactitly laid down, but none the less a fact…."33

   A woman known only as a Mrs. W. is reported saying, "So far I've kept decent; I came of decent folks; but it's no fault of many a man that I've worked for that I can say so still. I've had to leave three places because they wouldn't let me alone, and I stay where I am now because they're quiet respectable people, and no outrageousness …."34

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   "The True Story of Lotte Bauer" follows a young German girl's losing efforts to keep her wages at survival; about midway through this struggle, Campbell wrote:

by January her ten and twelve hours' work brought her but six dollars instead of the eight or nine she had always earned. The foreman she hated made everything as difficult as possible. Though the bundle came ready from the cutting-room he had managed more than once to slip out some essential piece, and thus lessened her week's wages, no price being paid where a garment was returned unfinished. He had often done this where girls had refused his advances, yet it was impossible to make complaints. The great house on Canal Street left these matters entirely with him and regarded complaint as mere blackmailing…. 35

   Aside from manufacturing work, the largest field for women at this time was domestic service, where conditions of sexual harassment were the same if not worse. Campbell recorded the following bitter story from a discussion among sweatshop workers:

Do you know what come to my girl … I put her with a lady that wanted a waitress and said she'd train her well. She'd three boarders in the house, and all gentlemen to look at, and one that's in a bank to-day he did his best to turn her head on the sly, and when he found he couldn't one Sunday when she was alone in the house and none to hear or help, he had his will. The mistress turned her off the hour she heard it, for Nettie went to her when she came home. Such things don't happen unless the girl is to blame, she said. "Never show your shameless face here again." Nettie came home to me kind of dazed, and she stayed dazed till she went to a hospital and a baby was born dead, and she dead herself a week after. It's over an' over that that thing happens … I'll warn every girl to keep to herself an' learn a trade, an' not run the risk she'll run if she goes out to service.36

   Risk or not, many women could only earn money by entering this field. Louisa May Alcott, who wrote Little

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Women, began her writing career with newspaper articles, the theme of one of these early pieces being "How I Went Out to Service." It is a description of sexual harassment by the Reverend Josephus, a thirty-five-year-old bachelor, who first lavished "tender blandishments" and then, when rejected, only the ugliest and dirtiest of work. Alcott quit the post, writing that her heart had "suffered many of the trials that wound deeply yet cannot be told."37 Whether they could be told or not, the trials of sexual harassment in domestic service were rampant. As a result of her investigations into conditions in this field Campbell wrote:

   "Household service has become synonymous with the worst degradation that comes to woman. Women who have been in service, and remained in it contentedly until marriage, unite in saying that things have so changed that only here and there is a young girl safe, and that domestic service is the cover for more licentiousness than can be found in any other trade in which women are at work."38

   In addition to manufacturing work and domestic service, a working woman of the time might have sought employment in the newer occupations of shop girl and waitress, but if she hoped by these routes to bypass sexual harassment she was bound to be frustrated; the hazards persisted. From one of Campbell's interviews:

   "I was at H—&mdash's, for six months, and there you have to ask a man for leave every time it is necessary to go upstairs (to the ladies' room) and half the time he would look and laugh with the other clerks. I'd rather be where there are all women. They're hard on you sometimes, but they don't use foul language and insult you when you can't help yourself."39

   Campbell commented: "Many sensitive and shrinking girls have brought on severe illnesses arising solely from dread of running this gauntlet."40

   Waitresses were prey to other hazards. A 1907 issue of McClure's Magazine includes "The Diary of An Amateur Waitress" by Maud Younger, who recounted the way a regular waitress advised her to get customers. "Oh,

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you must jolly your customers along. Sometimes I give him a whack. The boss likes us to be fresh with the customers."41

The Practice Against Black Women

   The history of sexual harassment toward black working women begins with slavery, when the pattern for exploitative sex with black women first evolved. Gerda Lerner writes in Black Women in White America: "Their free availability as sex objects to any white man was enshrined in tradition, upheld by the laws forbidding intermarriage, enforced by terror against black men and women and, though frowned upon by white community opinion, tolerated both in its clandestine and open manifestations."42 When slavery ended this pattern was perpetuated in both the North and South through sexual harassment of black women on the job.

   In a 1912 issue of The Independent a black nurse published "More Slavery at the South," in which she wrote of this firsthand:

I remember very well the first and last work place from which I was dismissed. I lost my place because I refused to let the madam's husband kiss me. He must have been accustomed to undue familiarity with his servants, or else he took it as a matter of course, because without any love-making at all, soon after I was installed as cook, he walked up to me, threw his arms around me, and was in the act of kissing me, when I demanded to know what he meant, and shoved him away. I was young then, and newly married, and didn't know then what has been a burden to my mind and heart ever since; that a colored woman's virtue in this part of the country has no protection. I at once went home, and told my husband about it. When my husband went to the man who had insulted me, the man cursed him, and slapped him, and -- had him arrested! The police judge fined my husband $25. I was present at the hearing, and testified on oath to the insult offered me. The white man, of course, denied the charge. The

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old judge looked up and said: "This court will never take the word of a nigger against the word of a white man."43

   Conditions in the North were as terrible, only different; there the black woman was excluded from all but the most menial labor and sexually victimized by dishonest employment agencies, agencies that pushed her more and more into odd jobs and "disorderly houses." In a 1905 issue of Charities and the Commons, Frances A. Kellor, general director of the Inter-Municipal Committee on Household Research, described the employment-agency traffic in black women workers:

These green Southern girls are collected in the South by white agents and shipped North, assured that good places exist. They are charged $19.50 for transportation which costs $7: they sign a contract to work one or two months without pay; they agree to send their baggage to the employment agency, which can keep it if they do not pay at the end of sixty days; a runner meets them at the docks and often robs them of their small savings; they are taken to a lodging-house -- often the agency -- where men and women, colored and white, habitués of disorderly houses, intemperate and good are all lodged together. There is no protection at the docks or at the stations. The new arrival does not meet one person outside of those under the influence of this agent. When a girl without baggage, $20 in debt, and a total stranger in the city, is sent to a disorderly place, upon threats or promises, can she be said to be anything more than a slave?44

   Kellor, in typical Victorian fashion, begs the real issue. Jane Addams in A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil did not. According to Brownlee and Brownlee, she was among the first to show that these "agencies" were "often found to be associated with pimps … arranged lodging in a house owned by a pimp, and thereby provided a means to ease young women into prostitution. Facilitating the exploitation was the reluctance of courts to

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give credit to the testimony of black women when it was given against white men."45

The Cover-up

   On August 20, 1890, Mrs. Alexander Bremmer, a deputy factory inspector, read a paper to a convention of her peers on the usefulness of female inspectors, citing certain "immoralities" that existed in some of New York's factories. She immediately collided with New York's Chief of Factory Inspectors, James Connolly, who vehemently denied her allegations, forbidding her to talk to the press and demanding her resignation. In the controversy that ensued it was Connolly's alleged involvement with the Tammany machine and Mrs. Bremmer's job that became the contested issues rather than the sexual harassment inside the factories.46

   Of course, Connolly's response could have been predicted. There simply was no other public position. Over and over again both government and private agencies sponsored and then published investigations and reports that either whitewashed or denied the problem. The public accepted their conclusions as fact and these "facts" became even further elevated in the public mind by virtue of having been produced by prominent business establishments. Howard B. Woolston, Ph.D., in the first volume of Prostitution in the United States, as late as 1921 denied the existence of sexual harassment based on a 1915 department -store investigation that was paid for by fourteen prominent retail houses. He wrote:

It has sometimes been stated that work in stores and factories has a demoralizing effect upon young women who are thrown into intimate contact with employers and customers who may have evil designs upon them … but "investigators" found that exceedingly few of the many stories related could be traced to an extensive basis in fact … immoral employers and employees might be found in any large establishment.47

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   Here and there a little-noted report acknowledging the abuse would appear and then slip into complete obscurity unless it suited the purpose of controlling female labor. One of these appeared in Detroit as early as 1866. It issued a finding that "much of the prostitution which curses the city is the loathsome fruit of the depravity which dates its commencement at the tobacco factories."48 Unfortunately and against logic, this investigation by the Committee of the Eight-Hour League and Trades Assembly was also used by the unions as proof of their program of "protective" legislation for women.

   The first female organizer for the International Ladies Garment Union (ILGU), Pauline Newman, severed her connection with the union in 1911, just two years after beginning, because they wanted to pay her less than the male organizers. She also complained of sexual harassment. In an angry letter to her friend Rose Schneiderman, she commented on the women selected to replace her, saying, "Well they too are not bad looking, and one is rather liberal with her body. That is more than enough for Dyche."49 (John Dyche was the union's executive secretary.)

   Within a few months of this letter, though, Newman was back with the ILGU; she could find for herself no other acceptable option. Her good friend Schneiderman worked for the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL), a woman's movement group whose goal was to aid working women. Since the League also provided working women with organizing help -- help simultaneously denied them by the very unions they were struggling to join -- Schneiderman made a different choice. However, her conflicts between male socialism and feminism were the same as Newman's. Although they believed in women's rights and fought for them most of their lives, they were alienated by the middle- and upper-class majority of the women's movement and their heavy emphasis on women rather than class oppression. In the end they and nearly all other female organizers of the day opted for the male left, a

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decision that seriously shortchanged all work-related feminist issues. Sexual harassment was no exception. Caught in the tug-of-war between priorities, it was finally deliberately ignored in lieu of the "larger issues" of socialist reform. Newman's approach was typical, as Alice Kessler Harris explains:

She thought it bad strategy to raise issues of morality when they threatened to interfere with negotiations over wages and hours. It may have been true, she argued, that a factory owner's son and his superintendent had taken liberties with female employees: "There is not a factory today where the same immoral conditions [do] not exist…. This to my mind can be done away with by educating the girls instead of attacking the company."50

   The male left and the accompanying socialist attitudes, of which Newman's statement is typical, not only guaranteed that sexual harassment would victimize millions of working women for decades to come but added to the problem by trivializing it. The growth of this approach was facilitated by a decline in feminist influence on working women, the result of increasing feminist focus on obtaining the vote and of a sudden male union militancy against middle-class women's "interference" with the workers.51 The unions, fearing the impact of feminists on working women, insured the split by portraying feminists as opposed to labor's cause.

   There was in this whole period only one voice which, had it been heeded, might have redirected history. That voice was Emma Goldman's. Her thinking bored straight to the core of woman oppression: sexual exploitation. Having once perceived this to be society's major weapon against women, she went on to stump the country preaching her doctrine of sexual emancipation. Despite jail and rejection she never swerved from her belief that female liberation would only begin when women's sexual exploitation ceased. Among the competing philosophies of the day this

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view was the only one that could admit to sexual harassment of women at work as a serioús problem. Goldman not only adjudged this to be true, but placed the blame where it belonged -- in society's hands. In her classic essay "The Traffic in Women" she wrote: "Nowhere is woman treated according to the merit of her work, but rather as a sex. It is therefore almost inevitable that she should pay for her right to exist, to keep a position in whatever line with sex favors…."52

   Emma Goldman has been vindicated by history -- and in no areas is that more obvious than in the sexual harassment of women at work; her words are as true now as they were seventy years ago. We will have gained little beyond understanding her prophetic vision, however, if we do not also go back and reclaim the anonymous and unnumbered women who have perished because of sexual harassment. The nature of the coercion has always been to deny the reality of their deaths, to say that women asked for their suffering or, at best, only suffered the terrible common plight of their times. The record is quite different. Thousands of women expired either because they could not be coerced into cooperating with male dominance at work or because they submitted, only to be hounded into an ignominious oblivion. These women died from male supremacy, their lives sacrificed to the male control of female labor in a war now unremembered by male history.

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  1. Elizabeth M. Almquist, "Women in the Labor Force," SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 2, No. 4 (1977) pp. 843-844.
  2. Back to Text


  1. Nancy Smith Barrett, "The Economy Ahead of Us," Women and the American Economy, edited by Juanita Kreps (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976) p. 157.
  2. Back to Text

  3. Edward Gross, "Plus Ça Change ...? The Sexual Structure of Occupations over Time," Social Problems (Fall 1968) p. 202.
  4. Back to Text

  5. Barrett, loc. cit.
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Chapter Two

  1. Reader's Digest (August 1970) p. 41.
  2. Back to Text

  3. Reader's Digest (October 1970) p. 52.
  4. Back to Text

  5. See Women Office Workers Newsletter (Sept.-Oct. 1975), available from Women Office Workers, 680 Lexington Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10022.
  6. Back to Text

  7. Adrienne Rich, Of Women Born (New York: Norton, 1976) p. 57.
  8. Back to Text

  9. Nancy M. Henley, "Power, Sex and Nonverbal Communication" in Language and Sex edited by Barrie Thorne and Nancy Henley (Massachusetts: Newbury House Publishers, 1975) p. 184.
  10. Back to Text

  11. Erving Goffman, "The Nature of Deference and Demeanor," American Anthropologist, LVIII, 1956, pp. 473-502.
  12. Back to Text

  13. Michael Argyle, Psychology of Interpersonal Behavior, (London: Cox and Wyman Ltd., 1967).
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  15. "Both physical closeness and staring seem to be perceived as warning signals in the confrontation sequences...." George Maclay and Humphry Knipe, The Dominant Man (New York: Delacorte, 1972) p. 58.
  16. Back to Text

  17. Henley, op. cit., p. 192.
  18. Back to Text

  19. Nancy M. Henley, "The Politics of Touch," Radical Psychology, edited by Phil Brown (New York: Harper, 1973) p. 423.
  20. Back to Text

  21. Henley, Language and Sex, p. 184.
  22. Back to Text

  23. Ibid., p. 192.
  24. Back to Text

  25. Catherine Radecki, "Differences in the Use of Dominance Gestures in an Occupational Setting by Sex and Status," mimeographed, University of Delaware, September 1976.
  26. Back to Text

  27. Henley, "The Politics of Touch," pp. 431-432.
  28. Back to Text

Chapter Three

  1. Heidi Hartmann, "Capitalism, Patriarchy and Job Segregation by Sex," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Spring 1976), Part 2 pp. 138-139.
  2. Back to Text

  3. Ibid.
  4. Back to Text

  5. Ibid. p. 153.
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  7. Neil Smelser, Social Change and the Industrial Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959), chaps. 9-11, cited in Hartmann.
  8. Back to Text

  9. Frederick Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1892) p. 199, cited in Hartmann.
  10. Back to Text

  11. Hartmann, op. cit., p. 155.
  12. Back to Text

  13. Sidney Webb, "The Alleged Differences in the Wages Paid to Men and Women for Similar Work," Economic Journal 1, No. 4 (December 1891) pp. 639-658, cited in Hartmann.
  14. Back to Text

  15. Millicent G. Fawcett, "Equal Pay for Equal Work," Economic Journal, 28, No. 1 (March 1918) pp. 1-6, cited in Hartmann.
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  17. F. Y. Edgeworth, "Equal Pay to Men and Women for Equal Work," Economic Journal, 32, No. 4 (December 1922), p. 439, cited in Hartmann.
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  19. Hartmann, op. cit. p. 160.
  20. Back to Text

  21. Ibid. p. 161.
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  23. Edith Abbott, Women in Industry (New York: Arno Press, 1969) p. 92, cited in Hartmann.
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  25. Hartmann, op. cit. p. 161.
  26. Back to Text

  27. Elizabeth F. Baker, Technology and Women's Work (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964) p. 34, cited in Hartmann.
  28. Back to Text

  29. John B. Andrews and W.D.P. Bliss, "History of Women in Trade Unions" in Report on Condition of Woman and Child Wage-Earners in the United States, Vol. 10, printed by Government Printing Office, 1911, reprinted as History of Women in Trade Unions (New York: Arno Press, 1974) p. 69.
  30. Back to Text

  31. Hartmann, op. cit. p. 163.
  32. Back to Text

  33. Abbott, op. cit. pp. 252-253, cited in Hartmann.
  34. Back to Text

  35. Gail Falk, "Women and Unions: A Historical View," mimeographed, Yale Law School, published in shortened form in Women's Rights Law Reporter, 1 (Spring 1973) pp. 54-65, cited in Hartmann.
  36. Back to Text

  37. Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle (New York: Atheneum, 1970) p. 136, cited in Hartmann.
  38. Back to Text

  39. Abbott, op. cit. p. 260.
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  41. Hartmann, op. cit. p. 164.
  42. Back to Text

  43. Ibid. p. 165.
  44. Back to Text

  45. Ibid.
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  47. Ann C. Hill, "Protective Labor Legislation for Women: Its Origin and Effect," mimeographed, Yale Law School, 1970; published in part in Barbara A. Babcock, Ann E. Freeman, Eleanor H. Norton and Susan C. Ross, Sex Discrimination and the Law: Cases and Remedies (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1975), cited in Hartmann.
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  49. Elisha Bartlett, "A Vindication of the Character and Condition of the Females Employed in the Lowell Mills Against the Charges Contained in the Boston Times and the Boston Quarterly Review," orig. published Lowell, Massachusetts, 1841; reprinted in Women of Lowell (New York: Arno Press, 1974) p. 19.
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  51. Voice of Industry, Fitchburg, Massachusetts, September 18, 1846. Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations Archives.
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  53. This is largely based on William Wallace Sanger, History of Prostitution: Its Extent, Causes and Effects throughout the World (New York: Harper, 1869), an official report to the Board of alms-house governors of New York City; Reginald Wright Kauffman, The House of Bondage (New York: Moffat, Yard and Company, 1910), a report of the special Grand Jury appointed in New York in January 1910 to investigate white slave traffic; and Havelock Ellis, Sex in Relation to Society (Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company, 1910).
  54. Back to Text

  55. Helen Laura Sumner, "History of Women in Industry in the United States, 1910," in Report on Condition of Woman adn Child Wage-Earners in the United States, Vol. 9, printed by Government Printing Office, 1911; reprinted as History of Women in Industry in the United States (New York: Arno Press, 1974) p. 98.
  56. Back to Text

  57. Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, orig. published 1905 (New York: New American Library, 1960) p. 109.
  58. Back to Text

  59. William Sulzer papers, 1890-1940. Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, Cornell University.
  60. Back to Text

  61. Helen Campbell, Women Wage-Workers, Their Trades and Their Lives (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1887), reprinted as Prisoners of Poverty (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1970, 1975) preface.
  62. Back to Text

  63. Ibid. p. 22.
  64. Back to Text

  65. Ibid. p. 35.
  66. Back to Text

  67. Ibid. p. 87.
  68. Back to Text

  69. Ibid. p. 97.
  70. Back to Text

  71. Ibid. pp. 135-136.
  72. Back to Text

  73. Louisa M. Alcott, "How I Went Out to Service," The Independent, New York, June 4, 1874.
  74. Back to Text

  75. Campbell, op. cit. p. 234.
  76. Back to Text

  77. Ibid. p. 181.
  78. Back to Text

  79. Ibid., loc. cit.
  80. Back to Text

  81. Maud Younger, "The Diary of an Amateur Waitress," McClure's Magazine, 1907.
  82. Back to Text

  83. Gerda Lerner, Black Women in White America (New York: Random House, 1973) pp. 149-150.
  84. Back to Text

  85. Ibid., pp. 155-156.
  86. Back to Text

  87. Frances A. Kellor, "Southern Colored Girls in the North," Charities and the Commons, 1905.
  88. Back to Text

  89. Mary M. Brownlee and W. Elliott Brownlee, Women in the American Economy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976) p. 244.
  90. Back to Text

  91. Women Factory Inspectors of New York State, 1890-91, #2367m, a collection of New York state newspaper clippings. Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, Cornell University.
  92. Back to Text

  93. Howard B. Woolston, Prostitution in the United States, Vol. I (New York: The Century Co., 1921) pp. 279-280.
  94. Back to Text

  95. Sumner, History of Women in Industry, p. 203.
  96. Back to Text

  97. Alice Kessler-Harris, "Organizing the Unorganizable: Three Jewish Women and Their Union," Labor History, Vol. 17, No. 1, (Winter 1976) p. 16.
  98. Back to Text

  99. Ibid.
  100. Back to Text

  101. Ibid. pp. 17-18.
  102. Back to Text

  103. Emma Goldman, "The Traffic in Women," reprinted in Red Emma Speaks: Selected Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman, compiled and edited by Alix Kates Shulman (New York: Random House Vintage Books, 1972) p. 145.
  104. Back to Text


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