Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Because of Sex

Because of Sex

One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives at Work

Gillian Thomas




Trade Paperback

One of The New York Times’s 10 Books to Read for Women’s History Month

Gillian Thomas's Because of Sex tells the story of how one law, our highest court, and a few tenacious women changed the American workplace forever. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act revolutionized the lives of America’s working women, making it illegal to discriminate “because of sex.” But that simple phrase didn’t mean much until ordinary women began using the law to get justice on the job—and some took their fights all the way to the Supreme Court. These unsung heroines’ victories, and those of the other women profiled in Because of Sex, dismantled a Mad Men world where women could only hope to play supporting roles, where sexual harassment was “just the way things are,” and where pregnancy meant getting a pink slip.



On February 8, 1964, an eighty-year-old segregationist congressman named Howard Smith stepped onto the floor of the House of Representatives and changed the lives of America’s working women forever.

It was the...


Praise for Because of Sex

One of the New York Times's 10 books to read for Women's History Month

“Meticulously researched and rewarding to read. … Thomas is a gifted storyteller.” ?The New York Times Book Review

“Gives well-earned attention to women who remained unknown even as the causes they fought for gained support and the legal actions they brought entered the casebooks under their names.” —Linda Greenhouse, The New York Review of Books

“One of the brilliant aspects of this book is how it intertwines political history with developments in the law. In the end, this book is about the sacrifices women have made for women. It is about all of us and the commitment we will make to ensure dignity, respect, and equal rights for the average women who make this country great.” —Laurie Levenson, Los Angeles Review of Books

“The definitive account of Title VII’s sex provision.” Slate

“Thomas writes with precision and grace (and a lovely lack of jargon) about ten cases that established the full reach and scope of Title VII. The plaintiffs and attorneys she profiles here—some of whose courage and determination render them truly heroic—helped build the precedents that enable women to seek formerly male-only jobs, to work through marriage and parenthood, to be free from sexual harassment.” The Boston Globe

“A singularly important look into the relationship between women, the workplace, and the law. Gillian Thomas close-reads ten seminal cases. It's almost impossible to believe that this legal architecture didn't exist until so recently, or that women managed to work at all without it. This is a compelling, readable narrative about a law that changed everything, and the people who worked to spearhead a revolution.” ?Dahlia Lithwick, Slate

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Gillian Thomas

GILLIAN THOMAS is a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project. She previously litigated sex discrimination cases at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, and Slate, and she has been interviewed by NPR and The Wall Street Journal, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.

Gillian Thomas

Elena Seibert

Gillian Thomas at Slate

From the Publisher


Latest on Facebook