Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Raise a Pink Napkin to Anita

Anita Hill is responsible for getting me my first job. Well, indirectly. I was first hired by the National Council for Research on Women in 1991 to write a report synthesizing current research on sexual harassment. And I'll never forget standing on my chair at a fancy luncheon along with women state legislators at a CAWP-sponsored conference held the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego soon after the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings were over. Anita Hill was the speaker, and as she made her entrance, the legislators, my boss, and I waved pink napkins high in the air and hooted and hollered like banshees. It was a highpoint of my early twenties.

Now, sixteen years later, Supreme Court Justice Thomas has a new book out, and over at the Women's Media Center, Freada Kapor Klein responds. Klein, an expert in issues of sexual harassment and founder of the Level Playing Field Institute, argues that Thomas is still trying vindicate himself at Hill’s expense. She notes that every employee in the United States whose workplace has policies about a harassment-free environment owes a debt to Anita Hill, who had the courage to speak up about unfair treatment when her attempts to lodge a confidential complaint were denied.

I'll swing a napkin to that.

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