NEWS | September 26, 2018

Lin Farley, who coined the phrase "sexual harassment," to speak in Sacramento and Davis on Oct. 17

She gave it a name, now hear her thoughts on why it hasn't gone away

Editor's note:

To RSVP for one of Lin Farley's lectures, email


Lin Farley, the first person to use the term “sexual harassment of women” and write a book on the topic, will speak in Sacramento and Davis as the 2018 UC Davis School of Medicine Nelson Lecturer in the Humanities.

Lin Farley
Lin Farley is the 2018 UC Davis School of Medicine Nelson Lecturer in the Humanities.

There are two opportunities to hear Farley speak on Wednesday, Oct. 17:

  • “Sexual Harassment Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow” at noon in Davis in the auditorium of the Genome and Biomedical Science Facility, 451 Health Sciences Drive. 
  • “Sexual Harassment: The Back Story!” at 5 p.m. in Sacramento in the Matsui Lecture Hall of the Education Building, 4610 X Street. A reception follows the lecture at 6 p.m.

Both lectures are free and open to the public. 

How to reserve your spot

RSVPs are requested via email to Please include in your email which lecture you will be attending.

“In the wake of the #MeToo movement, we thought it was important to hear from the person with the greatest perspective on the topic of sexual harassment,” said Eric Gershwin, chief of rheumatology, allergy and clinical immunology and chair of the Nelson Lectureship selection committee at UC Davis. “Dr. Farley can offer insights on how far we have ― or haven’t ― come in the 40 years since she first gave a name and a voice to what some women were experiencing at work.”

The story behind the term "sexual harassment"

Farley was teaching at Cornell University in 1975 when she invented the phrase “sexual harassment of women on the job” to describe patterns of workplace behavior described by her students. She introduced the phrase publicly that year at hearings on women and work to the New York City Commission on Human Rights. In 1978, she published the first book on the issue, titled Sexual Shakedown: The Sexual Harassment of Women on the Job.

Since then, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adopted Farley’s definition of sexual harassment of women at work. She also made a film with Ed Asner called “The Workplace Hustle” that was used for training against sexual harassment by most of America’s major corporations, was honored by the AFL-CIO for her efforts on behalf of working women, and is often invited to speak about the impact of sexual harassment on women and our culture.

Farley, a former Associated Press reporter, holds a Ph.D. in Eastern and Western psychology. She is currently working on a book titled The Secret World of Men that explores how men are socialized along with their attitudes toward women and children.

The Nelson Lectureship was established to honor the legacy of Camillus and Elizabeth Nelson, Woodland, Calif., pioneers who were dedicated to bringing thought-provoking speakers to the Sacramento-Yolo region.

More information about the UC Davis School of Medicine is at