In recent months, our nation has witnessed an undeniable cultural shift in how we address sexual harassment in the workplace – and the TIME’S UP and the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund are making sure that change is here to stay.
Conceived by women in Hollywood to serve all industries, TIME’S UP is addressing power imbalances in the workplace to stop sexual harassment and promote equality. The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, administered by the National Women’s Law Center, offers legal and public relations assistance to those who’ve experienced sexual assault, harassment or related retaliation in the workplace or while trying to advance their careers.
In this 2018 SXSW Featured Session, Hilary Rosen, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Fatima Goss Graves, and Tina Tchen discuss these vital movements and the changing cultural climate.
“I’ve been in front of the camera since I was ten months old and my first experience dealing with harassment happened before I was teenager unfortunately; on set, in the workplace. And I realized how conditioned I had become to just accept it as part of my job.” – Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Graves, who is the President & CEO of National Women’s Law Center referenced Anita Hill when discussing important movements. Hill became a national figure in 1991 when she accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, her supervisor at the United States Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of sexual harassment. “When she testified, and we had as a country, a really public conversation around harassment at the time, and what it looks like,” said Graves, “thousands of people came forward for the first time.”
Some reoccurring themes from this poignant conversation include intersectionality and inclusion. “Women of color are in the central hub of TIME’S UP. There is no TIME’S UP without women of color. There is no TIME’S UP without trans women, without women of different abilities,” said Smollett-Bell.
Smollett-Bell’s comments led to the introduction of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. Due to bullying from some of the accused lawyers’, Tchen felt it necessary to respond. The only way to put a stop to the silencing of women was to ensure that all women had access to lawyers and the fund was created to combat this issue.
The second half the session was devoted to an audience Q&A. During this portion, numerous women and one gentleman shared their own stories of harassment and how they took their stories and created organizations in their hometowns across the globe to help the cause.
Learn more about these vital movements in the full SXSW 2018 session “Time’s Up! Shifting the Imbalance of Power” from the Film & TV Industry Track.
Time’s Up Featured Session – Photo by Mike Jordan/Getty Images for SXSW