Women Are Joining Together To Defeat Workplace Harassment

Posted January 03, 2018

In November, a group of more than 700,000 female farmworkers sent the women of Hollywood a powerful letter of solidarity recognizing the plight of all women subject to sexual mistreatment in the workplace, but asking those in the spotlight to not overlook those who toil in the shadows of sprawling industries like food production, hospitality, restaurants, and elsewhere.

The initiative seeks to raise $13 million for a legal defense fund to help working-class women bring sexual abuse charges.

The women said they are hoping to widen the attention being paid to Hollywood's scourge of sexual harassment and discrimination into a cultural shift.

"We remain committed to holding our own workplaces accountable, pushing for swift and effective change to make the entertainment industry a safe and equitable place for everyone", the letter reads.

The initiative, which is called Time's Up, was announced via a full-page advert printed in the New York Times.

Legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.

The fund will be housed at and administered by the National Women's Law Center, a women's rights legal organization, and managed by Christina M. Tchen, former Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama.

Director Ava DuVernay, producer Kathleen Kennedy and dozens of actors, including America Ferrera, Emma Stone and Constance Wu, laid out the mission of Time's Up in an open letter.

"The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace".

Time's Up also is backing the movement for women to wear black, in solidarity with those who have been sexually harassed, at Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony.

Producer Shonda Rhimes is also a prominent member, alongside showrunner Jill Soloway; Donna Langley, the chairwoman of Universal Pictures; lawyer Nina L. Shaw; and Maria Eitel, an expert in corporate responsibility who is co-chairwoman of the Nike Foundation.

The meetings reportedly began in October, shortly after Harvey Weinstein was first accused of sexual assault.