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Top Hollywood women unveiled a sexual harassment initiative

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Top Hollywood women unveiled a sexual harassment initiative
A combination photo shows some of the actresses who have made allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. Listed in alphabetical order, top row from left, Asia Argento, Rosanna Arquette, Jessica Barth, Cara Delevingne, Romola Garai, Judith Godreche, Heather Graham, Angelina Jolie. VOA

USA, Jan 1, 2018: More than 300 top women in Hollywood — from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence to Emma Thompson and Cate Blanchett — unveiled an initiative Monday to tackle pervasive sexual harassment in workplaces, calling special attention to their “sisters” in less than glamorous blue-collar jobs.

The initiative, dubbed Time’s Up, caps a year in which the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal touched off a deluge of allegations that brought down powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media, prompting companies, government agencies and even the U.S. federal court system to re-examine harassment policies.

But in an open letter printed in The New York Times, the new initiative lends the star power of its A-list members to the cause of women in less prominent fields, urging support and respect for farm workers and others whose humble positions leave them vulnerable and voiceless.

“We fervently urge the media covering the disclosures by people in Hollywood to spend equal time on the myriad experiences of individuals working in less glamorized and valorized trades,” the group says in its full-page ad.

“To every woman employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, every waitress grabbed by a customer and expected to take it with a smile … we stand with you. We support you.”

$15 million goal

Last month, the head of Ford Motor Company apologized to employees at two factories in Chicago and promised changes, after a scathing expose by the Timesdetailed pervasive harassment and mistreatment of women at the plants dating back to the 1990s. It was one of the first major media investigations into sexual harassment in blue-collar workplaces.

Among the specific steps it announced, Time’s Up has established a legal defense fund that, in just 12 days, has raised $13.4 million toward a $15 million goal aimed at providing legal aid for women and men who were sexually harassed, assaulted or abused in the workplace.

It has vowed to push for legislation to strengthen laws on workplace harassment and discrimination.

The group insists that more women must be brought into positions of power and leadership, while every woman should have equal benefits, opportunities, pay and representation.

As for Hollywood, it wants “swift and effective change to make the entertainment industry a safe and equitable place for everyone.”

And it called on women to wear black at Sunday’s Golden Globes as a statement against gender and racial inequality, and to raise awareness about the group’s efforts.

‘Dear Sisters’ 

The open letter in the Times, which also appears in the Spanish-language La Opinion, opens with the words “Dear Sisters” in large, bold type, and closes with the words “in solidarity,” followed by the names of the 300 women.

Several of Weinstein’s accusers signed the open letter. They include Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale, as well as Salma Hayek, whose lengthy account of mistreatment by Weinstein — “my monster,” she called him — was widely circulated on social media after appearing last month in The New York Times.

Weinstein has denied some of the allegations, including Hayek’s assertion that he pressured her to do a nude sex scene in one movie.

Other prominent women lending their names to the Time’s Up cause are actresses Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Amy Schumer, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Keira Knightley, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Susan Sarandon, Uma Thurman and Viola Davis; producer Shonda Rhimes; Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley; feminist activist Gloria Steinem; lawyer and ex-Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen and Nike Foundation co-chair Maria Eitel. (VOA)

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Resist, Insist, Persist Because The Future is Female

In addition to Washington rally, Sister marches took place in multiple cities including New York City, Los Angeles and many more across the world.

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Women's March
People hold an American flag during the second annual Women's March in Los Angeles, California, Jan. 20, 2018. VOA

By Vishvi Gupta

“Justice is about making sure that being polite is not the same thing as ‘being quiet”, says Alexandria Ocaso Cortez, Representative of the Bronx and New York while rallying in the women’s march in New York City.

The United States of America woke up on 19th January and saw thousands of women March for gender equality and bring pressing issues like the partial shutdown, Trump’s border wall and women’s reproductive rights to the light.

‘The crowd stretches so far that there’s no room left to march’ is how the first Women’s March was described when it was first held in 2016. Thousands of women marched together to show solidarity in lieu of  ‘Anti-Trump Sentiments’, a day after Donald Trump swore in as the President.

Women’s March of 2017 inspired millions to run, to vote and dozens to win elections. A women’s wave swept away the U.S. this midterm election, with record number of women being elected as representatives of the house. The wave, however, did not end there and brought together people of different color, races, sexualities and abilities during the rally which took place across the country.

Women’s March Disability Coordinator, Mia Ives-Rublee says,” My hope is to continue to talk about how these different identities interact, how we can support each other, and how its so important that we are able to talk about disabilities, especially in Asian-American Communities”.

This year’s march is different because the organizers of the march are pushing aheead with a solid agenda. There are really specific policy demands which are crafted by a policy table of 50-70 women who are movement and policy experts.

Women's March,
People carrying signs join hundreds of demonstrators in the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles, Jan. 20, 2018. VOA

Even after the recent disputes surrounding the leaders of the women’s march regarding  the allegations of anti-Semitism, many women turned up not wanting to lose a seat at the table and to make sure that anti-Semitism is something that is addressed.

Also Read: Women In Afghanistan Fear Recurring Oppression If Taliban Becomes Part Of The Government

In addition to  the Washington rally, Sister marches took place in multiple cities including New York City, Los Angeles and many more across the world.

“We are going to shut down your disrespect of women and girls”, said Women’s Right Attorney Gloria Allerd and stimulated the crowd to: Resist, Insist and Persist.