More than 300 women working in the film, TV and theater industries have come together to launch Time’s Up, a new initiative aimed at fighting against sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace.
As part of the initiative, the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund has been set up to 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. The Fund will be housed at and administered by the National Women’s Law Center. A network of lawyers and PR professionals will work with the center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity to provide assistance.
Another facet covers legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, along with discouraging the use of nondisclosure agreements, which can silence victims. There is also a drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies by 2020.
“Now, unlike ever before, our access to the media and to important decision makers has the potential of leading to real accountability and consequences,” the women wrote in an open letter released on New Year’s Day. “We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed, and to know that accountability is possible. We also want all victims and survivors to be able to access justice and support for the wrongdoing they have endured. We particularly want to lift up the voices, power, and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation.”
Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes, Eva Longoria, Dakota Johnson and Emma Stone are among those backing the Time’s Up initiative.