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Copyright (c) 1996 Women's Rights Law Reporter, Rutgers--The State University of New Jersey 
Women's Rights Law Reporter

NOTE: Occupational Segregation And The Male-Worker-Norm: Challenging Objective Work Requirements Under Title VII

Fall, 1996

18 Women's Rights L. Rep. 79




The occupational segregation of women in the workplace is one of the most apparent signs of gender inequity. 1 Although it has been a quarter of a century since the Supreme Court declared discrimination on the basis of sex arbitrary and invidious, 2 and over three decades since Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 3 promised to eliminate workplace discrimination for women, women are still overwhelmingly represented in low-paid, low status jobs. 4

In overruling a line of Supreme Court cases which undercut the strength of anti-discrimination measures, 5 the Civil Rights Act of 1991, among other things, promised women an end to discrimination in the workplace. 6 In order to avoid a political battle over its passage, the Act left much undefined. 7 While ambiguity puts confusion into the mix, undefined areas will also allow employment discrimination litigators to think of creative strate- gies for using Title VII 8 of the Act to eliminate employment barriers for women. For example, in the early 1970s there was no cause of action for the sexual harassment women faced in the workplace. 9 Early cases refused to acknowledge such conduct as actionable under Title VII. 10 Later, due to an expansive interpretation of the rights protected under Title VII, the Supreme Court held that sexual harassment was a form of employment discrimination. 11

Although women are entering the ranks of management in record numbers, they still remain concentrated in low levels of management. 12 One reason ...
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