Every day women go to work and have to face various kinds of gender discrimination — an unfair wage differential, discrimination in health and other benefits, lack of advancement opportunities, and sexual harassment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade sex discrimination. However, sexual harassment did not become widely recognized or prosecuted as a form of sex discrimination until the mid-1970s, when women were entering the workforce in greater numbers.
Recently, New York Knicks coach Isaiah Thomas and his employer, Madison Square Garden, were found guilty of sexually harassing Anucha Browne Sanders, a former Knicks marketing executive. Sanders, a former women’s college basketball star, was fired after she accused Thomas of making unwanted sexual advances and verbal insults.
Sanders called the ruling a victory for working women everywhere. “If you have a sister, a mother, a daughter or wife who goes to work each day, and if you are a man, you should be outraged” by sexual harassment, she said. “There are many women out there who I have spoken for that don’t have the wherewithal to fight.”
“What I did here, I did for every working woman in America,” Sanders said.
Actually, she did it for working men as well as women.
Both men and women benefit when they are equal partners in all aspects of life, at work, at home and throughout our society.
When women are paid less, or get less benefits, or are forced into part-time or temp jobs, it means fatter profits for the boss, and weakens the struggles of all workers to improve their lives. Only the boss benefits when men and women are divided. It is in the interests of every man that women be viewed as equal partners in all aspects of life, either at work or at home.
Any action that demeans women or makes them feel uncomfortable doing their job is an action that damages men. In the workplace and in society as a whole, sexual harassment helps the boss and the capitalist system. It’s called super-exploitation, and divide and rule. Both men and women should redouble their efforts to stamp out sexual harassment.