2017– The year women finally said: Time Is Up!
What were they referring to?
Cases of sexual harassment have been finally surfacing. Women and men are no longer afraid to speak up. Sexual harassment is very commonly seen at universities, male dominated industries and the entertainment industries. According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, 1 in 10 female students in Australian universities has experienced sexual assault, while in the US colleges 1 in 5 women. In the UK, young female students experience sexual assault from university staff. Students of all ages, races and ethnicities experience these attacks. In the workplace, nearly half of the women are being sexually harassed according to a poll conducted by NBC News and the WSJ. Let’s not forget that these statistics pertain only to those who were strong and brave enough to come forward with their experiences.
Is it not alarming that such events occur on daily basis? We are living in the age where women supposedly have equal rights. So, why do we still need feminist movement? How much longer do we need to fight this battle? Time’s definitely up.
1st January 2018 – Hollywood celebrities founded the “Time’s Up” movement, with the motto: “The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.” After the allegations of sexual misconduct by Ashley Judd against the famous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, which were revealed in October 2017, hundreds of women around the world started revealing their sexual harassment stories, usually using the social media phenomenon #MeToo. The abusers were the famous faces of Hollywood – Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, Oliver Stone and about 200 other.
Even though this is a serious social problem which has been present for years, it took the most influential people in the show business to address it, so that the awareness would finally be raised. Nevertheless, a huge social media boom is happening since the beginning of 2018. #Time’sUp began as a campaign of donations to a legal defense fund under the same name. The so-called “Silence breakers” – prominent female figures from the American and British media world, signed the Letter of Solidarity, thus supporting all the women-victims from the film, TV and theatre industry. The major public support was demonstrated also at Hollywood’s golden night, The Academy Awards 2018. Almost all female nominees and guests wore black outfits and ‘Time’s Up’ pins as a silently agreed solidarity with the courageous women.
The narrow campaign luckily had positive spillovers over the general raising of awareness, so more and more girls and women have come forward with their stories. The shared experiences encouraged changes of regulations in many companies, but they mainly laid the ground for a huge global support system. After a hard slap for the established empowerment of women, some changes are an unexpected counter-balance of the current situation.
The World Economic Forum’s agenda for 2018 contains the challenge of female empowerment with red letters. Their research shows myriad positive outcomes of reducing gender gaps in the employment and education, such as more diversified exports, greater bank stability and lower income inequality – all of which lead to more sustainable growth. Some Scandinavian countries are addressing the hot issue of parental leave. Norway, for example, has affordable childcare schemes which permit both parents to work. Iceland, on the other hand, has enforced equal pay by law. In the US, the number of women who run for office, as well as women who start their own funding campaigns have experienced an ever-growing trend.
Besides the economic consequences of the Time’s Up campaign, the change of the mindset is what counts. The time has come for everyone around the world to be aware of the horrific experiences women go through on a daily basis. The time has come for more people to spread the word that would prevent these experiences and the traumas from occurring. The time has come for women to claim the place in society that they deserve. 2018 is definitely a good time to be a woman.
Women in Business_Bocconi Female Students Association