Hollywood Announces the TIME’S UP Initiative as a New All-Inclusive, Anti-Harassment Action Plan for Women
When several Hollywood women bravely accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment in late 2017, no one knew it was only the beginning of a new movement for gender equality in the entertainment industry and beyond. Since then, an onslaught of accusations against men both in and out of Hollywood has shed light on what is now seen to be a systemic culture of workplace female harassment and abuse. On January 1st, 2018, over 300 powerful Hollywood women announced in the NY Times that they had formed a new anti-harassment initiative called TIME’S UP. This new alliance has put out an action plan designed to help women of all backgrounds fight for workplace equality and justice.
The Harsh Reality
As the #METOO campaign gripped the nation with sobering revelation after revelation of female workplace harassment and abuse by men, it became clear to women everywhere that they were not alone in their own experiences of workplace abuse. In fact, about 50% of women have experienced workplace harassment or abuse in their lifetime. Of these women, 71% of them did not report it. This is probably largely because males often have a distorted view of women in the workplace. This distortion comes directly from the top. In fact, a survey showed that nearly half of men thought women were well-represented in positions of leadership in the companies where only 1 in 10 leaders was a woman. Only about 1 in 5 C-Suite leaders today is a woman. This the lack of women in leadership positions does not only take place at C-Suite companies, however. Women are notoriously under-represented as leaders in all industries. This means that workplace abuse is not just limited to Hollywood. In fact, workplace harassment is most common in service industry jobs. More than 25% of all harassment claims to the EEOC were from low-wage workers (TIME’S UP). There is simply an accepted culture in this country of the workplace abuse of women.
Hollywood Unites to Fight Back in a Unique Way
The women of Hollywood saw this reality and felt that they could stand by in silence no longer. In fact, it became clear to them that they are in a unique position to speak up about this problem. “Now, unlike ever before, our access to the media and too important decision-makers has the potential of leading to real accountability and consequences…We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed and to know that accountability is possible” (TIME) To accomplish this, a large group of powerful women from all walks of life in the entertainment industry came together and formed a new initiative; TIME’S UP. What is unique about this initiative, is that it actually takes action to help women of all backgrounds and work positions. In fact, TIMES UP has put together several so-called “groups” that are designed to act in a variety of different ways. The initiative is also different from other workplace harassment movements, in that the women of Hollywood has also put their money where their mouth is; so to speak. They have raised a fund of around 15 million dollars to put behind the work of each of these “groups”
What Actions Are Being Taken?
The “groups” of the TIME’S UP include:
- One group oversees a legal defense fund that will connect sexual harassment victims with lawyers to help them fight their abuse. This fund will use the money raised by TIME’S UP to help pay the legal fees for women who otherwise would not be able to afford a lawyer to put up a fight. The fund will be administered by the National Women’s Law Center Legal Network for Gender Equity.
- Another Group is working to ensure that minorities and the LGBTQ communities will be heard from and helped as well.
- One group, 50/50 by 2020, is working to push companies in the entertainment industry to reach gender parity by the year 2020.
- Yet another group is a commission led by Anita Hill, is working to create a blueprint for ending sexual harassment in Hollywood completely.
- Finally, another group is working toward the creation of legislation that tackles both the issues of sexual harassment in general as well as the silencing of victims by nondisclosure agreements. This group is also working to ensure that all women, no matter the line of work, know their rights when it comes to workplace abuse (NY TIMES)
Making TIME’S UP Visible
The initiative also pushed Hollywood women to show their solidarity with the movement by changing their habits on the red carpet. They encouraged women to wear black to the Golden Globes that aired on January 7TH. Several actresses and actors pledged allegiance to the movement on their social media accounts at “#WHYWEWEARBLACK.” Almost all of Hollywood did, in fact, show up at the awards in black to show their solidarity with one another and with TIME’S UP. Several actresses even brought activists as their guests to the show. “For years, we’ve sold these award shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour.” Said Eva Longoria to the NY TIMES. She continued by saying “This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.” Indeed, this powerful moment is about much more than fashion. It is about the right of women of all working classes and backgrounds to come together to fight the workplace harassment we have been forced to put up with for years.
Photo Collage From: The NY TIMES