Staff / February 22nd, 2018

It’s official: The Time’s Up initiative is gaining global traction—and there’s receipts to back it up.

On Sunday, ahead of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, 190 women working in the entertainment industry in the U.K. signed their names to an open letter announcing their intention to support and continue the Time’s Up movement that began across the pond.

“In autumn of last year, when stories came out in the press about sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse in the entertainment industry, 700,000 female farm workers wrote to us to say they stood with us in solidarity,” the letter, which was published in The Guardian, reads. “Their letter explained that they knew what we were going through, that they stood shoulder to shoulder with us in our pain and in our belief that a better world was possible. This solidarity between women — activists and survivors — across all industries is what inspired Time’s Up and what continues to galvanize us.”

The letter added that the movement is bigger than just the entertainment industry, and is instead intersectional, reaching people “across race, class, community, ability and work environment, to talk about the imbalance of power.”

“Here in the UK, this movement is at a critical juncture,” the letter read, further explaining that the gender pay gap there for young women in their 20s is “now five times greater than it was six years ago. Research in the UK has found that more than half of all women said they have experienced sexual harassment at work.” The letter noted that women working as freelancers or contractors are particularly vulnerable to harassment and abuse.

“There is no question that Time’s Up should be and will be a global movement,” it continued. “A movement that is defined and led by those affected by the problem, not by those in power.”

The letter was signed by Emma Watson, Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Emilia Clarke, and more.

To highlight that this movement truly is for all women, and not just those in the entertainment industry, the actresses’ open letter was accompanied by one signed by 160 British activists—including Phyll Opuku-Gyimah, co-founder of U.K. Black Pride. She also attended the BAFTAs with Andrea Riseborough.

“We bear witness each day to the ways that adult women, young women and girls are subjected to violence in every sphere, from the home to the workplace,” the activists’ letter read. “We recognize that the ways in which women in the entertainment industry have been silenced mirror the ways that women are silenced by individual perpetrators, by companies, by families, by institutions, by communities and by the state. For each woman in the entertainment industry who has spoken out, there are thousands of women whose stories go unheard.”

With their dual letters, the women announced the Justice and Equality Fund, which will work to “create the far-reaching personal, social, legal and policy changes that will ensure everyone can feel safe at work, at play and at home.” The fund kicked off with a £1 million (about $1.4 million) donation from Watson, but as the women stated in their letter, donations are open to anyone who can give.

As Watson told The Observer, “More than half of all women, and nearly two-thirds of women aged 18 to 24, say they have experienced sexual harassment at work. One in five women in England and Wales have experienced some type of sexual assault after the age of 16. This should not be tolerated and cannot and should not be our norm. We can do better than this.”

Read the actresses’ and activists’ letters in full here. [Source]



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