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All The Single Ladies

Unmarried Women and The Rise of an Independent Nation

By Rebecca Traister
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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All The Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister

All The Single Ladies (2016) chronicles the history and changing circumstances of single women in America. These blinks explain how cultivating female friendships and seeking alternative strategies to balancing personal and professional obligations help women achieve greater success and independence.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“A book-in-blinks all about capital-L Love: love of place, love of one’s work, and most important, the romance of friendship between a single woman and her female familiars. Come for the history and politics, stay for the feels. The chapter on friendship made me cry.”

– Caitlin, Simplify Co-host & Podcast Lead

Key idea 1 of 9

In the 1990s, the Hill-Thomas hearings made workplace sexual harassment a national talking point.

It seems today that there are more single women in society than married women. Yet this wasn’t always the case. Not 20 years ago, when an unmarried woman claimed she was sexually harassed at work, she was rarely taken seriously.

In 1991, a high-profile case showed how being unmarried made a woman untrustworthy.

Law professor Anita Faye Hill testified before a Senate committee against her former employer, Clarence Thomas, soon to be appointed to America’s highest court, the Supreme Court.

As her boss years before, Thomas allegedly had made repeated sexual remarks to Hill, referencing lewd acts and the size of his penis.

Shockingly, Hill’s status as a single woman would be used against her during the hearings.

Hill’s allegations were brushed aside by many who supported Thomas, on the basis that as an older single woman, she was obviously incapable of maintaining healthy relationships with men. They even declared that Hill suffered from erotomania – delusions that powerful men were attracted to her.

The Senate Judiciary Committee eventually dismissed Hill’s claims and went on to appoint Thomas to the Supreme Court. As the hearings were televised, the incident became national news. And given the outcome, many American women were outraged.

For one, the Senate committee that heard Hill’s testimony was comprised entirely of men. At the time, only two women served in the Senate, with just a few more in the House of Representatives.

Inspired to take action, women across America realized that something needed to change in the halls of power. Just one year after Hill’s testimony, an unusually large number of women ran for Senate seats.

Four of these candidates succeeded in winning their race to become senators – not a large number, but it was a start.

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