Jurist and Academic Anita Hill to Speak on the 'Status of Women and Girls' in Boise 

click to enlarge - Anita Hill will speak in Boise Tuesday. -  - BRANDEIS.EDU
  • Brandeis.edu
  • Anita Hill will speak in Boise Tuesday.
Anita Hill is perhaps best known for making allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation hearings for his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. To say her story ends in a Senate hearing room in 1991, however, would be to discount her tremendous achievements as a jurist, educator and author.

Hill will be in Boise on Tuesday, Oct. 10, to deliver remarks on "reporting on the status of women and girls" at the Grove Hotel Ballroom. During an interview for an upcoming article for Boise Weekly, the Brandeis University professor told the story of how Obama-era data collection efforts that could have a profound impact on civil rights policymaking are being stymied by the Trump White House.

"What it says to me is pay equity, or sexual assault, or the rights of sexual minorities are not a priority for this administration," she said.

The issue first came to Hill's attention when information and language about LGBT people vanished from the White House website. Soon thereafter, information about climate change, health care and civil rights disappeared. Contrary to popular belief, the Trump administration wasn't removing information so much as failing to restore it: Obama's White House page has been archived, and Trump was given a blank White House page to reflect the priorities of his administration. However, they varied drastically enough from his predecessor's that the disparity drew public attention.

The disappearance of information on economic data collection for women from Trump's page was more than skin deep. In December 2016, mere weeks before President Obama left the White House, more than 100 major employers, including AT&T, eBay, InterContinental Hotels, Square and Yahoo, made a pledge to Obama to give men and women equal pay for equal work. As a side product, the pledge would generate reams of potentially valuable information about women in the workforce, according to Hill.

The pledge has continued to gain steam under the new administration, but there has been no word on what, if anything, is being done with the data being generated.

"We're really left to our own to collect the data—or we're left to ponder how policy is going to be made if we don't have this data," Hill said.

In addition to discussing equal pay, Hill said she will also talk about how women—and particularly women of color—were among those hardest hit by the Great Recession, and how the resulting loss of wealth will affect the educations and retirements of the children and grandchildren of working women today.

The reception starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, in the Grove Hotel Ballroom, courtesy of the University of Idaho College of Law. Also, keep an eye out for a Q&A interview with Hill in an upcoming edition of Boise Weekly.
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