Sexual Harassment in the Airline Industry: Podcast

Sexism Takes Flight, Sexting History

In the 1960s, the airline industry ramped up its sexualization of stewardesses in order to increase revenues. Decades before the #MeToo movement, flight attendants navigated a workplace in which their employers required them to stay thin, remain unmarried, and squeeze into revealing clothing every day. In the early 1970s, flight attendants organized one of the first campaigns against workplace sexual harassment, assault, and sexual discrimination.

A History of the Women’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment

Carrie N. Baker, The Women’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

The Women’s Movement Against Sexual Harassment examines how a diverse grassroots social movement created public policy on sexual harassment in the 1970s and 1980s. The collaboration of women from varying racial, economic, and geographic backgrounds strengthened the movement by representing the perspectives and activism of a broad range of women. Based on interviews and voluminous original research, this book is the first to show how the movement against sexual harassment fundamentally changed American life in ways that continue to advance women’s opportunities today.

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Constance Backhouse on the Alliance Against Sexual Coercion

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:

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.