Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases and Fifty Years That Changed American Women’s Lives at Work

Gillian Thomas. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-137280-05-3
ACLU attorney Thomas does a stellar job of illustrating how Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act has dramatically improved working conditions for American women in this compulsively readable narrative that makes the law, and its history, accessible to lay readers. She grips from the very start, with an account of how the crucial three words, “because of sex,” were added to the section of the Civil Rights Act dealing with employment discrimination by an “unrepentantly racist male octogenarian,” Howard Smith, a U.S. Representative from Virginia. Thomas then traces the revolutionary developments that followed, as brave women fought the system, and won. Their triumphs are even more impressive because, as Thomas points out, they were “breaking new legal ground entirely.” Chapter after chapter humanizes the plaintiffs, such as Ida Phillips, whose hopes for a better job on an Orlando, Fla., assembly line were dashed when, in 1966, she was barred from applying for a job because she had a three-year-old at home. The author merges the personal stories with the legal intricacies of the litigation, and crafts a moving and informative account of a struggle for equality that remains incomplete. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/25/2016
Release date: 03/08/2016
Ebook - 978-1-4668-7897-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-250-13808-8
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