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.