Three hundred actresses and female writers, directors, producers, agents, and executives are standing together in solidarity with women around the country to make a powerful statement: Systemic sexual harassment in the workplace isn't just a Hollywood problem. There are Harvey Weinsteins in every industry, and their new initiative, Time's Up, aims to help women in all fields who are struggling with harassment, discrimination, and pay disparity.
Announced by The New York Times on Monday (January 1), Time's Up is a sweeping, leaderless movement that has a variety of goals, which include launching a legal defense fund to help women and men report sexual harassment or assault in the workplace, creating legislation to combat sexual misconduct, and increasing gender parity. The initiative is also working in partnership with 50/50 by 2020 to ensure women of color and the LGBTQ+ community are represented equally in the film and television industry.
So far, the initiative has raised over $13.7 million dollars for the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, an invaluable resource that will provide "subsidized legal support to women and men who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace and while in pursuit of their careers."
Since October, hundreds of women in Hollywood, from Jennifer Lawrence to Lupita Nyong'o, have come forward to speak out about instances of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the toxic boys' club behavior they've encountered while working in Hollywood.
In an open letter signed by the prominent women of Time's Up (including Lawrence, Ava DuVernay, Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, America Ferrara, and many more), they made their mission statement clear. "The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time's up on this impenetrable monopoly," they said.
Women will also physically stand in solidarity at the 2018 Golden Globes, where Time's Up has encouraged women to wear all black to the ceremony on Sunday as a symbol of protest against harassment in Hollywood. (Men have promised to join their statement by wearing black to the Globes as well.) Women are also encouraged to speak out against the industry's deep-seated history of sexual misconduct on the red carpet. "This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment," Eva Longoria told the Times.
"For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour," she concluded. "This time the industry can't expect us to go up and twirl around. That's not what this moment is about."
Instead, the moment is about action. Because the more women — and men — come together to talk about these issues, the less power men like Weinstein feel entitled to.