#MeToo – TimesUp – Movements with a Purpose

#metoo#MeToo – TimesUp – Movements designed to empower women to speak out against sexual harassment and against being silenced by the powerful when they are subject to such abuse.

The #MeToo Movement began over 10 years ago when founder, Tarana Burke, established a support network for survivors of sexual violence to find pathways to healing. Her tag line, “empowering through empathy” is the cornerstone of the movement.

MeToo was thrust into the spotlight in late 2017, when women in Hollywood began speaking out against sexual harassment and violence in the entertainment industry.

Two female journalists for the New York Times, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, wrote an article exposing Harvey Weinstein, a prominent film producer and executive’s, decades of abuse against female employees. The article provided several accounts of Weinstein propositioning women to have sex with him or sexually pleasure him in exchange for “boosting” their career.

The Times found that some women were reluctant to come forward against Weinstein for fear of retribution. Many of Weinstein’s victims had filed suits against him which were mostly settled for undisclosed amounts with a non-disclosure agreement tied in. The power imbalance between the women and Weinstein was evident – something Weinstein knowingly used to his advantage.

Unfortunately, women being sexualised or sexually vilified in the workplace, is common in all industries, not just Hollywood.

In an article published by Lawyers Weekly, Danielle Mildren, partner at Clayton Utz in Canberra and president of the ACT Women Lawyers Association, says that sexual harassment is prevalent in many Australian professional sectors. Mildren talks about sexism being prevalent in the legal sector something we need to work towards eradicating.

What the MeToo and Time’s Up movement tell us is that women are constantly subjected to sexism and discrimination in the workplace which is tolerated, or at the very least not spoken about fear of retribution or negative connotations.

Women are now saying enough is enough and joining together to propel the discussion and debate to effect change.

Yes to empowerment, yes to having a voice and yes to being heard and saying its happened to Me Too and I’m no longer fearful to speak out.

Join the debate, join the movement.



Cristina Cocchiaro is a senior solicitor in our Melbourne Office.

By |2018-03-20T10:49:39+00:00March 20th, 2018|

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