Time's Up: Women launch campaign to fight sexual harassment


The women announced the launch with a lengthy letter of solidarity published as a full-page ad in the New York Times and the Spanish-language paper La Opinion on Monday.

It will include a legal defence fund for victims across different industries, backed by United States dollars 13 million in donations, and will advocate for legislation combating workplace harassment.

Some of Hollywood's top women have unveiled a $15 million initiative to tackle pervasive sexual harassment in Hollywood and working class jobs across the US.

"As a first step towards helping women and men across the country seek justice, the signatories of this letter will be seeding a legal fund to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment across all industries challenge those responsible for the harm against them and give voice to their experiences".

The movement was spurred in part by a letter sent in November by the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, an advocacy group representing hundreds of thousands of women who work in the agriculture sector, in support of Hollywood actors battling sexual assault.

The initiative, dubbed "Time's Up", is fronted by such prominent industry figures as Shonda Rhimes, executive producer of the television series "Grey's Anatomy" and other hit television shows; Donna Langley, chairwoman of Universal Pictures; and actresses America Ferrera, Rashida Jones, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman and Reese Witherspoon.

This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment.

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"For years, we've sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our attractive faces and our glamour", she said.

The collected money will be used to fund and support both male and female victims.

Reese Witherspoon said the group offered an opportunity for women to join forces in an industry that has typically been run by men.

A drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies that has already begun making headway.

"We're finally hearing each other, and seeing each other, and now locking arms in solidarity with each other, and in solidarity for every woman who doesn't feel seen, to be finally heard", she said, according to the Times.

While Time's Up plans to structure itself as a decentralised organisation with no formal hierarchy but established traditions, it plans to forge alliances with similarly focused organisations, among them 50/50 by 2020, a group that aims for equal gender representation in USA boardrooms by 2020.