Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mia L. Cahill & Debra Horowitz
The social problem of sexual harassment has its origin in unwelcome male sexual conduct involving women at work. In the midst of a massive social movement for gender equality and the influx of more women into the workplace, feminists argue that male sexual power over women was a major impediment to women's success at work. Sexual harassment law attempted to address this social problem, and the 1970s were marked by the first formal complaints of sexual harassment in the United States. While its feminist roots keep sexual harassment policy primarily an issue for women, sexual harassment laws tend to be gender neutral, and the law has been expanded to include female harassment of men and same-sex harassment. In practice, however, women tend to be the primary users of sexual harassment law. Early legal conceptions of sexual harassment in the United States located the conduct squarely at work and theorized two ...