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In the 1970s, women across the country demanded access to what had been male bastions. Women went to college in record numbers and demanded the high-paying jobs once reserved for men. When women took jobs in the iron mines of northern Minnesota, some men tried to drive them out.


The mines offered pay and benefits women couldn't earn at other jobs, so when men tried to get rid of them, women fought back. Women at Eveleth Mines filed the first class-action sexual harassment suit in the country. When the case went to trial, some women felt traumatized all over again by invasive questioning that laid their lives bare.



After ten years in court, the women and the mine settled. The case laid the groundwork for other class-action suits, but changes in the workplace have made such suits less likely. In the mines, women say they've proven they can do the work, and harassment isn't tolerated today.

Listen to the hour-long radio program or read the transcript.

Have you experienced hostility while diversifying a workplace?


While the Men Were At War
In the 1970s, when women started working in the pits and processing plants, some men resisted bitterly. But a generation earlier, the mines had welcomed the women who came to replace the men who'd gone off to fight in World War II.


Times Change
Lynn Sterle was as excited as anyone else when she learned that director Nikki Caro was coming to the Iron Range to make a movie. She never imagined her years as a miner would land her in front of the camera. And she's taken on an even more important role as an advisor to the crew and cast of North Country.


Read Marvin Lamppa's memories of growing up on the Iron Range.

Read about producer Catherine Winter's dilemma on reporting a story that many want to forget, and Stephanie Hemphill's realization of how close, and how far, the Iron Range really is.

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