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

Pressure to "Succeed"

Pressure to "Succeed"

More From Catharine

In this video

MacKinnon talks about the pressure to "succeed" that so often leads people away from their dreams.

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

Annie Clark
Annie Clark
Musician, "St. Vincent"

Annie Clark began playing guitar at age 12. As a teenager, she got a sense of a touring musician's life when she accompanied her uncle Tuck Andress on tour as he traveled with ...

Marin Alsop
Marin Alsop
First Woman Conductor of a Major American Orchestra

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Marin Alsop is a lot more than just the first female conductor of a major American orchestra. Alsop is also the Chief Conductor of the Sao ...

Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis Schlafly
Conservative Activist

Phyllis Schlafly was 28 years old when she ran a 1952 long-shot Congressional campaign in Illinois’ 24th district. Though she failed to win the seat, the effort announced her...

Temple Grandin
Temple Grandin
Professor of Animal Science

Temple Grandin is world-famous for using insights gained from her autism to revolutionize the livestock industry. A professor at Colorado State for more than 20 years, Grandin is a...