Anita Hill made sexual harassment a national issue by testifying at the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas in 1991. Her bravery empowered thousands of women to bring their own sexual harassment lawsuits and helped revolutionize the treatment of women in the workplace.
Today, Ms. Hill continues her mission and trailblazing efforts by fighting for institutional change to increase parity and protection for women and minorities. She leads the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality, composed of leading executives in the entertainment industry. The committee is examining the pattern of sexual abuse in Hollywood that the #MeToo campaign has exposed since Harvey Weinstein was accused of abuse in October 2017. Ms. Hill has stated that the committee is the next step in a “long overdue journey to adopt best practices and create institutional change that fosters a culture of respect and human dignity throughout the industry.”
Ms. Hill speaks about lessons learned and progress won since her testimony. She comments on how institutions can step up to promote equality—from colleges holding students and fraternities more accountable, to companies punishing abusive employees and executives. She addresses why it’s more important than ever before to keep fighting for vigorous enforcement of the law and creative positive change within organizations. As Ms. Hill said at the 2016 Massachusetts Conference for Women, “We must raise our voices just as we did 25 years ago to say, ‘enough is enough.’” To watch her speech at this conference, click here.
As the Professor of Social Policy, Law and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University, Anita Hill is also working on a project aimed at reinvigorating Title IX. The project outlines specific, structural changes that companies, schools and professions can make to step up, embrace equality and increase opportunities for women and minorities.
The event was one of the most amazing I have ever witnessed. Everyone I have spoken to was simply blown away by it. Please pass along to Anita that people reported being especially blown away by her brilliance. This is not a gratuitous, hyperbolic, compliment. My big takeaway? The Hill-Thomas hearings robbed all of us of the chance to know in 1991 exactly how brilliant Anita Hill is. As a nation, we are left with an image of her at the hearings, having to respond to horrible questions within the context of a highly constrained forum not of her choosing. On Wednesday, we all got to see a brilliant intellect at work. We could see the gears whirring as she provided thoughtful, highly analytic, and non-formulaic answers to the questions. Her response to the question about academia was especially powerful.
University of Pennsylvania
Dear Professor Hill:
What an absolute honor and privilege to have met you and welcome you to Toronto. There are not very many people who can attract 800 women and men (some of the most intelligent and powerful women in Canada) at the ungodly hour of 7am in the morning. You did not disappoint them. Your determination, intelligence, approach to the issues and your warmth was incredibly inspiring. You gave us hope that we can all make a difference every single day and that it is important to keeping the conversation going. You are such an incredible symbol of strength and perseverance.
Keywords: diversity, sexual harassment, assault, leadership, women in the workplace, inclusion, Title IX, income inequality, author