PublicSquare Seminars

The seminar provides a contextual overview of the legal, policy, and historical developments – including the persistent influence of gender and racial biases on cultural and workplace attitudes – that have shaped the existing framework of protections against sexual harassment in the workplace.  The discussion examines the current challenges to combatting workplace sexual harassment effectively, and identifies potential avenues for progress at the legislative, workplace, and educational levels.  These strategies will include exploring ways to remove pre-employment barriers that limit the ability to report harassment, improve harassment reporting structures, reduce retaliation and better empower survivors, elevate bystander intervention and other prevention measures, incentivize greater transparency, strengthen enforcement, and promote workplace equity.  The discussion also examines how to counter the misperceptions about sexual harassment that overlook the disproportionate impacts on women of color and low-income women. The seminar concludes with a robust discussion about how best to advance promising policy options to achieve concrete progress in the years ahead.

Jocelyn Frye, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, is a leading authority on women’s economic security and employment issues. She served for four years as deputy assistant to former President Barack Obama and director of policy and special projects for former First Lady Michelle Obama, with a focus on women, families, and engagement with the greater DC community. Previously Frye was general counsel at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she testified before Congress and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on federal enforcement of employment-discrimination laws. She earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

This event has been made possible through the generosity of Martin and Maureen McDermut.

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Seminar Readings

Jocelyn Frye, “From Politics to Policy:  Turning the Corner on Sexual Harassment,” Center for American Progress (January 31, 2018)
Jocelyn Frye, “Creating a Fair Process to Combat Sexual Harassment is Essential to Women’s Progress,” Center for American Progress (March 7, 2018)

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