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Courts / Law

Gender Equality Pioneer To Speak At Stetson Law

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Jo Ann Palchak
Catharine A. MacKinnon

The lawyer who pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment is speaking at Stetson University College of Law Thursday.

According to Catharine MacKinnon, things are changing when it comes to sexual harassment - something that she said has been coming, as she calls harassment a practice of "sexual inequality."

She said many women are feeling that conditions are now changing to where they can speak out about their own experiences - particularly since the Harvey Weinstein scandal came to light.

"Well, a lot of these things that are happening, socially speaking that I think are engines for social change are happening, in part, because of legal changes that have gone before," MacKinnon said.

She cited when Anita Hill spoke out with her accusations against Clarence Thomas at his Senate confirmation hearings as an example.

MacKinnon said "that the fact that sexual harassment already had legally been recognized as a form of sex discrimination and was illegal made that possible."

She added that because of Hills's actions and those of other women since, the possibility for "systemic transformation" exists, both for individual women and women as a group.  

MacKinnon is the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.  Her new book is "Butterfly Politics: A Theory of Social Change through Legal Practice."  

She'll speak on Thursday at noon in the Great Hall on the Gulfport campus of the Stetson University College of Law.

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