Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

A Mother's Legacy

A Mother's Legacy

More From Catharine

In this video

MacKinnon shares her disbelief at her mother's inability to reach her full potential due to barriers of the times. 

Catharine's Biography

Growing up: Grew up on a farm in Minnesota, more or less in the middle of nowhere.
First Job: Babysitter.
Describing Herself: "I teach. I litigate. I write, and I agitate for women. I work practically to change things."
Reflecting On Her Life: "I didn't anticipate any particular early death, but I never thought I would live to be this age. I feel triumphant."

Catharine MacKinnon is a legal scholar who pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment. As an undergraduate at Smith College, MacKinnon was first introduced to the constitutional law and political theory that inspired her to pursue a career that could address the bigger philosophical questions about society. That hunger eventually led her to earn both a law degree and PhD in political science from Yale. 
It was in New Haven among the ranks of a consciousness-raising group at the heart of the Women’s Movement where she became aware of the systematic sexual discrimination of women. MacKinnon recalls, “It wasn’t an issue. It was just life.” That would all change after the publication of her revolutionary 1979 legal argument that defined the term “sexual harassment.” By 1986, the Supreme Court adopted her argument into law without pause.
 

Along with teaching law at the University of Michigan, Yale, Chicago, Harvard and many more esteemed institutions, MacKinnon has become a powerful voice for international gender equality. She pushed to successfully implement her concept of “gender crimes” among international human rights violations, and since 2008 has been the Special Gender Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Due to her groundbreaking work and refusal to cave in, MacKinnon is among the most widely cited legal scholars in the English language.
 

Related Videos

Lauren Bucherie
Lauren Bucherie
Music Entrepreneur

Lauren Bucherie is a music supervisor and film producer based in Austin, Texas. In 2009, she co-founded The Sessions with CJ Vinson, a music production company specializing in even...

Rachel Simmons
Rachel Simmons
Educator & Author

Rachel Simmons is the author of two New York Times best sellers, including Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, the first book to explore bullying between young...

Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick
Champion Race Car Driver

Danica Patrick is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing, and is one of the most famous and recognized female athletes in the world. She is the only...

Gabrielle Hamilton
Gabrielle Hamilton
Chef & Author

Gabrielle Hamilton is "not convinced that it is important to make a living at the thing that you aspire to," a perfect outlook for this chef & author. Initially aspir...