Gender Discrimination & Sexual Harassment

Discrimination against women in the workplace in Minnesota history
Subjects: Social Issues
Tags: business, women

Periodicals & Newsletters

The Liberator: Official Newsletter of the Men's Organizations Support Network
Forest Lake, MN: Men's Rights Association
V.14-31 (1988-2004).  Some issues missing.
MNHS call number:HQ1090.L53 1988-1992 and Microfilm 2149 

Newsletter by Commission on the Economic Status of Women
St. Paul, MN: The Commission.
MNHS call number: HQ1438.M6 C68a no. 1-34 and Minn Docs Microfiche P208 no.35-70

Alliance: Newsletter of the Minnesota Equal Rights Alliance
St. Paul, MN. 
MNHS call number:Microfilm 1644

Suggested Newspapers & Dates


  • Minneapolis Star
  • Minneapolis Tribune
  • St. Paul Dispatch
  • St. Paul Pioneer Press
  • Mesabi Daily News (Virginia)
  • Duluth News Tribune
  • West Central Tribune (Willmar)
  • Fargo Forum


  • May 8, 1958: Newspapers break “Coya, Come Home.” Note: Mother’s Day is May 11. 
  • November 4: 1958: Coya Knutson loses re-election to the US House of Representatives to Odin Langen-- “a big man for a big job.” 
  • February 1972: University of Minnesota President Malcolm Moos rejects finding of sex discrimination by university committee in the case of assistant professor of Chemistry Shyamala Rajender.  Rajender later files formal complaint with the Minnesota Human Rights Commission.   
  • December 1972: Shyamala Rajender is appointed director of equal opportunity for the Minnesota State College System. 
  • February 8, 1973: Minnesota ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). 
  • September 1975: Rajender’s attorney, Paul Sprenger, amends complaint to make it a class action on behalf of all female academic non-student employees of University of Minnesota.  
  • December 16, 1977: The Willmar 8 go on strike over charges of sex discrimination at Citizens National Bank in Willmar.  
  • June 1978: Willmar 8 strike ends.  
  • September 1979: National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules against the Willmar 8 citing the strike did not result from unfair labor practices. 
  • December 15, 1979: 150 mineworkers march through downtown Virginia to a “Labor for ERA” rally.  
  • August 13, 1980: US District Court, District of Minnesota, Fourth Division approved a consent decree in Rajender v. University of Minnesota. 
  • August 15, 1988: Attorney Paul Sprenger files Lois E. Jenson and Patricia S. Kosmach v. Eveleth Taconite Co. in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. 
  • December 16, 1991: U.S. District Court Judge James Rosenbaum makes legal history by permitting Jenson v. Eveleth to proceed as the first class action ever for sexual harassment.
  • November 6-7, 1992: Rajender Conference takes place to celebrate accomplishments and document the experience of claimants.  
  • March 28, 1996: McNulty writes a 416-page report that calls the women of the Jenson vs. Eveleth case "histrionic," makes public sordid details about their private lives, and awards them each an average of $10,000.
  • December 5, 1997: The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals reverses McNulty's opinion and orders a new jury trial for the damages.
  • December 30, 1998: Fifteen women settle with Eveleth Mines for a total of $3.5 million on the eve of going to trial.​


Newsboy distributing January 1937 Minneapolis Journal.

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