Hollywood women take a stand against inequality

Reese Witherspoon helped launch the Time’s Up campaign
Reese Witherspoon helped launch the Time’s Up campaign

A STAR-studded group of female Hollywood figures - including Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, Natalie Portman and Kerry Washington - has launched an initiative to combat workplace sexual discrimination and inequality.

The Time's Up campaign - spearheaded by more than 300 actors and executives - will push for a marked increase in women being hired along with equal pay and benefits across professions both glamorous and otherwise.

"The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end," the group said in a statement. "Time's up on this impenetrable monopoly."

The initiative will also feature a legal defence fund for both women and men who believe that they've been discriminated against or harassed in their workplace.

"Time's up on silence," tweeted producer and participant Shonda Rhimes in support of the campaign. "Time's up on waiting."

A range of Hollywood boosters - including Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg - have already donated to the fund and have raised $US13 million ($A16.6 million) so far.

"Unfortunately, too many centres of power - from legislatures to boardrooms to executive suites and management and academia - lack gender parity and women do not have equal decision-making authority," the group said in an open letter released on New Year's Day.

The coalition also demanded greater representation for minorities, immigrants and those in the LGBTQ community whose "experiences in the workforce are often significantly worse than their white, cisgender, straight peers".


The effort also counted Emma Stone, America Ferrera and Eva Longoria as supporters.

Noting recent disclosures of mistreatment by members of the National Farmworker Women's Alliance, Time's Up lobbied for more attention to gender-related problems in less prominent industries.

"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 glamorised and valorised trades," the letter read.

In addition, the group will seek legislation that would penalise misbehaving companies as well as a specific push to achieve gender parity at Hollywood studios and talent agencies.

Hoping to generate momentum, Time's Up called for women to wear black at the upcoming Golden Globes as a sign of solidarity to the victims of sexual harassment who have come out over the last few months.


This article was originally published on the New York Post and is reproduced here with permission.

Topics:  hollywood inequality sexual harassment

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