Anita Hill July 30, 1956 - Current age 59
"We've got to confront this, we've got to get beyond these myths that we tend to believe because they're easier to believe about women. We've got to get to the real problem, the [mistaken belief]...that women ask for it, that they control it. All of those things, women are oppressed and they don't feel like they have an outlet to address them." -- Anita Hill
Anita Hill's courage, empowered women to seek the justice they rightfully deserve, for workplace discrimination. Hill, a Yale Law grad, is often recognized as the woman who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. She should be recognized as the woman who took a stand, or as the brave person willing to expose a rampant issue plaguing the entire country. The harassment she endured at the hands of Thomas did not happen in a vacuum. Sexual harassment and assault were (and remain) issues deserving of a national audience. When her testimony before Congress was televised on a live broadcast, sexual harassment became a part of the discussion and led to several Human Resources policy changes and the adoption of several safe workplace protocols.
Quick note* After presidents nominate their choice for justice to assume the bench on the US Supreme Court, they must undergo the stress of confirmation. This confirmation process includes a Congressional inquiry. During this inquiry a Senate Judicial Committee is commissioned with vetting the aptitude and background of the judicial candidate. In 1991, Hill was asked to testify by the committee about the harassment she was the victim of at the hands of Clarence Thomas (still a member of the U.S. Supreme Court).
She eventually obliged and blazed a trail for women to report harassment in the workplace. Despite three days of detailed testimony, highlighting the specifics of her encounters with Thomas, the Committee dismissed her testimony and proceeded to confirm Thomas, which established his tenure on the US Supreme Court.
Before working for Clarence Thomas Anita Hill was a straight A student from K-12 through graduate school. She was valedictorian of her high school class. She earned her bachelor's from Oklahoma State University, graduating with honors. After earning her juris doctor and gaining admission to the bar in DC, Hill worked for a private law firm. There she excelled and accepted a position as legal advisor to Clarence Thomas with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. It was in this role that Thomas began making sexual advances and innuendo towards Hill.
Hill remains involved with education to this day. She is a professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's and Gender Studies at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.