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Women Reshape American Law

Fred Strebeigh (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

The dramatic, untold story of how women battled blatant inequities in America's legal system.

As late as 1967, men outnumbered women twenty to one in American law schools. With the loss of deferments from Vietnam, law schools admitted women to avoid plummeting enrollments. As women entered, the law resisted. Judges would not hire women. Law firms asserted a right to discriminate against women. Judges permitted discrimination against pregnant women. Courts viewed sexual harassment as, one judge said, "a game played by the male superiors." Against the odds, women fought to reshape the law. Fred Strebeigh has interviewed litigators, plaintiffs, and judges, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Catharine MacKinnon, and has done research in their private archives as well as those of other attorneys who took cases to the Supreme Court to make the law equal and just for all.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • February 2009
  • ISBN 978-0-393-06555-8
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 592 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Both a compelling read and a meticulously deeply inspiring account of the varied cases through which American women have fought to gain equality under the law. It will fascinate general readers and specialists alike.” — Sandra M. Gilbert

“Beautifully written and assiduously researched, Fred Strebeigh’s book puts a human face on the movement toward legal recognition of sex discrimination. Equal gives us an unprecedented view into the minds of the plaintiffs, lawyers, and judges who brought about a seismic shift in the law. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in how each individual can improve our society through compassion, drive, and creativity. This book is both inspired and inspiring.” — Suzanne A. Kim, Associate Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law, Newark

Equal offers a compelling account of America’s leading women’s rights cases. Through painstaking research, Strebeigh gives us the "story behind the story" of the lawyers, litigants, and judges who made history. With its sharp insight, telling details, and humorous commentary, this book belongs both in law school curricula and on bedside tables. It is a great read and a major contribution to our understanding of women’s rights and constitutional law.” — Professor Deborah L. Rhode, Stanford Law School, past president of the American Association of Law Schools

“Strebeigh gives us heroes and villains, and above all he shows us the price--and the human stakes--of the struggle for equality.” — Professor Samantha Power, Harvard University, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for A Problem from Hell

“Could America really have been so sexist only four decades ago? In this groundbreaking book, Fred Strebeigh reminds us that from the office to the bedroom to the Supreme Court, the answer is yes. Case by case, character by character, detail by detail, he traces how far we have come. When I reached the last page, I wanted to stand and cheer both the intrepid lawyers who changed our country and the author who has so richly, clearly, and memorably chronicled their achievements.” — Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, At Large and at Small, and Ex Libris

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