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A French Sex Scandal that Could Only Start in the U.S.

A CEES faculty lecture by Abigail Saguy, UCLA, Sociology.

Thursday, May 17, 2012
12:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall

Differences in French and U.S. approaches to sexual harassment are typically chalked up to differences in culture. Drawing on analyses of U.S. and French sexual harassment laws, legislative debates, and jurisprudence and over sixty interviews conducted between 1994 and 2002 with French and American lawyers, activists, public figures, human resource managers, and union representatives, Abigail Saguy will contest this popular account. She will argue that different legal systems – not different sexual cultures – led, beginning in the 1980s, to extensive employer liability for sexual harassment in the U.S. and a dearth of employer liability in France. This crucial difference, in turn, has led U.S. and French corporations to respond very differently to their respective national sexual harassment laws. These legal, political, and corporate differences continue to shape women’s and men’s lives today.

Sponsor(s): Center for European and Eurasian Studies, Sociology, French and Francophone Studies, Department of Gender Studies, UCLA Sociology of Gender Working Group

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