Fighting for Women's Equality

ERA Report Highlights Gaps In Progress for Victims of Sexual Harassment 50 Years after Enactment of Title VII

October 9, 2014 | by

Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls, has released the first installment of a three-part report that examines the impact of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the economic opportunity and security of women in the United States over the last 50 years.

Although much progress has been made, “Moving Women Forward on the 50th Anniversary of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act” finds three persistent barriers to equal opportunity for women in the U.S.:

  • Sexual harassment and violence
  • Discrimination against pregnant workers and working mothers
  • The gender wage gap

These barriers are particularly steep for low wage women workers and women of color.

Part One of the report, “Sexual harassment still having a devastating impact,” highlights the persistence of sexual harassment and violence in the workplace, which has been largely ignored as an economic issue despite its devastating impact on a large number of working women.  50 years after the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and over 20 years since the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearing where law professor Anita Hill’s explosive testimony about sexual harassment by the nominee brought the issue into the public limelight, sexual harassment remains rampant in the workplace.

“Sexual harassment is still a huge problem, but the good news is we know how to successfully fight it,” said Noreen Farrell, Executive Director of ERA.  “This report outlines specific steps we can take as a society to restore and expand protections against sexual harassment and retaliation and better ensure women workers access to justice.”

Part One of “Moving Women Forward,” which addresses both the bright spots and blind spots of Title VII compliance, outlines 13 specific measures needed to move women forward on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These suggested actions will correct misinterpretations of Title VII, improve enforcement of this law and others designed to advance women at work, and fill policy gaps that leave too many without the help and protection they need.  A copy of the complete report and ERA’s recommendations for action are available here.

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