The company she had worked with did not grant her application to pursue her doctorate degree even though she is "as good and as smart as any man" because she's "only a girl." There was also no available housing privilege for married female students when she asked for one at Stanford University. After keeping it into herself for quite some time, Gerber, being a woman, stood up for her equal rights and freed herself as well as other women from the prejudiced society in the 60's. She can no longer tolerate the situations that might eventually kill humanity.
Sexual harassment is commonly observed in the workplace where there is an unequal power and authority among the people that can be taken advantage of. Defined broadly, it "refers to the unwanted imposition of sexual requirements in the context of a relationship of unequal power. Central to the concept is the use of power derived from one social sphere to lever benefits or impose deprivations in another Women employed in the paid labor force, typically hired "as women," dependent upon their income and lacking job alternatives, are particularly vulnerable to intimate violation in the form of sexual abuse at work. In addition to being victims of the practice, working women have been subject to the social failure to recognize sexual harassment as an abuse at all." (457)
Its definition was derived on a social context, therefore, it is expected that sexual harassment becomes a common incident that may affect seven out of ten women at work. The problem has become so huge however, very few of which are brought to court. "The reasons are probably not limited to the lack of legitimized or sympathetic channels for complaint short of the courts, or to women's learned reticence, enforced through fear of reprisals, although these would seem deterrent enough. It is probably not because the problem has been adequately handled by the socially. That there has not been even one reported case until very recently implicates the receptivity of the legal system." (286)
Humanity and womanhood are the concepts which the legal system had found its way out of the case. "the law has conceptualized women workers either in terms of 'humanity,' which has meant characteristics women share with men, or in terms of their womanhood, which has mean their uniqueness." (291)
Addressing this issue, difference and inequality approaches had become the basis to prove if sexual harassment is sexual discrimination in the workplace as well.
"Under the inequality approach, sexual harassment is seen to disadvantage women as gender, within the social context in which women's sexuality and material survival have been constructed and joined, to women's detriment. Under the difference approach, sexual harassment is sex discrimination per se because the practice differentially injures one gender-defined group in a sphere - sexuality in employment - in which the treatment of women and men can be compared. Sexuality is universal to women, but not unique to them." (312)
Toobin, J. (1998) The Trouble with Sex. New Yorker. 48-55.
The accidental invention of the sexual harassment law was just as controversial as it has been until at present. There were