Last year started with the Women’s March and ended with the #MeToo movement, and in 2018, women are already showing no signs of letting that momentum slow.

On the first day of the new year, more than 300 women from across the entertainment industry banded together to say “time’s up” on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace, in an open letter that ran as a full page ad in the New York Times.

The letter also marked the announcement of the “Time’s Up” initiative which includes a legal defense fund of $13 million, the Huffington Post reported, to be used to help fight sexual discrimination, harassment, and assault.

Influential women including Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Selena Gomez, Meryl Streep, and Natalie Portman all signed their names to the letter, which declares support for women working in agriculture and other blue-collar jobs who have experienced sexual harassment and assault.

Take Action: Tell World Leaders to Redouble Their Efforts By Amending Laws to Prevent Sexual Violence

The “Time’s Up” initiative describes itself as a “unified call for change from women in entertain for women everywhere” and was created in response to an open letter penned by the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas — an organization representing around 700,000 female farmworkers — in November after dozens of Hollywood women came forward with stories of sexual misconduct.

“We wish that we could say we’re shocked to learn that this is such a pervasive problem in your industry. Sadly, we’re not surprised because it’s a reality we know far too well,” their letter said. “Countless farmworker women across our country suffer in silence because of the widespread sexual harassment and assault that they face at work. We do not work under bright stage lights or on the big screen. We work in the shadows of society in isolated fields and packinghouses that are out of sight and out of mind...”

In Monday’s letter, the women committed to using their spotlight and privilege to help amplify the voices of sexual harassment and assault survivors who work in less high-profile industries.

“If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?” Shonda Rhimes, an award-winning television producer and supporter of “Time’s Up”, told the New York Times.

In addition to the legal defense fund, which will support both male and female victims of workplace sexual misconduct, the initiative will focus on amending legislation that enables sexual misconduct to persist in workplaces and has called on women attending the Golden Globes to wear black to raise awareness, according to W Magazine.

Read more: Here’s How Actresses Are Protesting Hollywood Sexual Harassment at the Golden Globes

Though 2018 has just barely begun, these powerful women are making a statement: “The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace.”

Global Citizen campaigns to #LeveltheLaw and end gender-based discrimination in legislation. You can take action here to ensure that women around the world are treated as equals.


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Over 300 Women in Entertainment Say ‘Time’s Up’ on Sexual Harassment

Por Daniele Selby