2017 was the year the world found out some truths about how the world sees and treats women in the workspace -but most notably Hollywood– with news every now and then about sexual assault and or sexual harassment, inequality in the workplace and just a general mistreat of women.
In the first day of 2018, it was announced through the NY Times that 300 women in the entertainment business -actresses, writers, producers, directors, agents and executives- have decided to unite in an ambitious initiative to fight systemic harassment for all people and eradicate the inequality in opportunities for women in all types of works.
“Powered by women, TIME’S UP addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential. We partner with leading advocates for equality and safety to improve laws, employment agreements, and corporate policies; help change the face of corporate boardrooms and the C-suite; and enable more women and men to access our legal system to hold wrongdoers accountable.”*
Time’s Up was formed not long after it was revealed that longtime producer -and one of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry- Harvey Weinstein had been accused of sexual misconduct to many actresses and women in the media, starting a wave of accusations and revelations from all over the world.
As more people started stepping forward and revealing their stories -supported by the hashtag #MeToo on Twitter- not just in Hollywood but all over the world in all kind of businesses and as it was becoming evident that women of working-class were being overlooked –700,000 female farmworkers sent a letter to actresses to show their support and tell their stories- a group of female talent agents decided to meet to discuss the problem and explore possible solutions.
“From 2007 to 2016, 4% of top-grossing directors were female. Just 7 were women of colour. 1 in 1,114 directors across 1,000 movies was Latina.”*
So far, the initiative includes the following plans to make things change:
- A legal defence fund, backed by $13 million in donations, to help less privileged women -like janitors, nurses and workers at farms, factories, restaurants or hotels- to protect themselves from sexual misconduct and get the necessary help -legal and counselling- to report it.
- Legislation to penalize anyone -especially companies- that tolerates harassment or “looks the other way”.
- Discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims of said harassment.
- A drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies.
- A request that every woman that’s part of the movement and is walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes this Sunday, speaks out and raise awareness by wearing black.
“For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour,” said actress Eva Longoria in a statement to the Guardian about wearing black. “This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”
This initiative is clear to include all types women -Women of Color, Women in the LGBT Community, Trans Women, …- in all kinds of jobs and positions, from the entertainment industry to boardrooms, farm fields, schools, and any type of workplace where there’s a woman.
“White non-Hispanic women are paid 81 cents on the dollar compared to white non-Hispanic men. Asian women are only paid 88 cents on the dollar. Black and Hispanic women are only paid 65 cents and 59 cents on the white male dollar, respectively.”*
Time’s Up has no leaders, as it is run by volunteers and supported by working groups like 50/50by2020, but began with an open letter signed by actresses like Ashley Judd, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Rashida Jones, Emma Stone, Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep; writer and creative Lena White; showrunners Jill Soloway and Shonda Rhimes; Donna Langley, chairwoman of Universal Pictures; the lawyers Nina L. Shaw -whose clients include Lupita Nyong’o and Ava DuVernay- and Tina Tchen, who served as Michelle Obama’s chief of staff; and Maria Eitel, co-chairwoman of the Nike Foundation and expert in corporate responsibility… to name a few.
“1 in 5 C-Suite leaders is a woman. Fewer than 1 in 30 is a woman of colour.”*
If you want to learn more about the initiative, read the open letter that ignited this movement, learn how to help, how to deal with the aftermath of harassment, how to be helpful if a situation of harassment presents, where and how to get help, if you want to make donations to the cause and more, click here, where you’ll be redirected to the official website of the movement.
“No more silence. No more waiting. No more tolerance for discrimination, harassment or abuse.”*
*These are statements from the Time’s Up website.