October 2018 marks one year since sexual harassment allegations surrounding Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein became headline news across the globe. But one year on, what has really changed for women in the workplace?
The Weinstein case brought to light what many of us feared but knew was happening due to the fear of most victims being ridiculed or accused of lying. 12 months later and Weinstein has been dismissed from one account in his criminal case due to a letter that has surfaced concerning aspiring actress Lucia Evans. It’s said there are inconsistencies between the letter and Evan’s story, claiming that Evans consented to oral sex in exchange for a role in a movie.
Allegations against Weinstein sparked the creation of the #MeToo international movement, which a year later still encourages women all over the planet to speak out and tell their stories of men abusing positions of power. #MeToo also fueled the women of Hollywood to create ‘Times Up’, the movement against sexual harassment. Emma Watson is responsible for bringing ‘Times Up’ to the UK, holding weekly meetings with the likes of Gemma Arterton and Keira Knightley.
It is described as a ‘unified call for change from women in entertainment, for women everywhere.’ Times Up provides a great deal of help to all women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. The organisation also has its very own LDF (Legal Defense Fund) which helps settle the costs of legal cases for women who have experienced sexual harassment at work.
Since the birth of #MeToo and Times Up, slowly but surely changes within the workplace as well as in society, are being made. Take Netflix for example, the brand now gives ‘harassment training’ before anybody starts a job. A phone number is provided to report any injustices which will be dealt with seriously, otherwise known as ‘whistleblowing phone-lines.’ They give a great deal of confidence to people and are being used in more and more workplaces across the country. Member of the Times Up movement and actress Gemma Arterton admitted, ‘If there’s one good thing to come out of the Weinstein story, it’s this new-found solidarity and personability among women.’
Undoubtedly since the Weinstein scandal, there has been a shift on what is classed as acceptable and unacceptable within a working environment, providing another positive step toward change. Over the past year, since the introduction of #MeToo, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of harassment helplines meaning women have felt comfortable enough to stand up and share their stories, to reach for help and to report their harassers. However statistics show that sadly, still in 2018 the gender pay gap for women in their 20’s is currently five times greater than it was six years ago and within the UK alone over half of all women have experienced some kind of sexual harassment at work, with a whopping 71% of those women not reporting it.
Granted, it should not have to be this way but the more united we stand the more people we help to have a voice and to be heard.
‘I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves.’
-Mary Wollstonecraft, Suffragette, 1792.
Words by: Ellie Fairchild
The UK's first Career & Lifestyle Magazine for women in the Creative and Media industries.