Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/1037525

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Page 39 of 63

38 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N Fa l l 2 0 1 8 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m with legal counsel and also send a signal that there are finally resources to support these victims of sexual harassment. A moment becomes a movement e formation of Time's Up moved quickly. From those early conversations, momen- tum grew and some of Hollywood's big- gest names joined the cause. On January 1, 2018, the collective—now comprising hundreds of women including director Shonda Rhimes, producer Ana DuVernay, and actor Reese Witherspoon—placed a full-page ad in the New York Times to of- ficially announce the launch of the Time's Up initiative. Beginning "Dear Sisters," it was a powerful message of solidarity with all women—from waitresses to agricul- ture and factory workers—declaring, "e struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks, and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated work- places must end; time's up on this impen- etrable monopoly." As a key part of the initiative, Tchen launched the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund (see sidebar), partnering with at- torney Roberta Kaplan of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP. e National Women's Law Center, a 45-year-old women's rights or- ganization, became the fund's administra- tive home. I n the wake of the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein in late 2017, a group of women working in Hollywood began talking about how they could use the moment to drive sustainable change. ey set out to combat sex- ual harassment and gender imbalance in the en- tertainment industry, but as the conversation evolved, they realized that they could use their platform to support women in all industries. Around the same time, attorney Tina Tchen, former ex- ecutive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls under President Obama, was in Los Angeles to help plan the upcoming United State of Women Summit, focused on gender equality. She happened to be in meetings alongside some of the Hollywood women involved, discussing the legal issues that women confronted. "I was realizing that we needed to create a place where women could get legal re- sources," says Tchen, who is now a partner at the law firm Buckley Sandler LLP. "Both for women who were starting to be sued by the powerful men they were speaking out against and had no recourse to get lawyers to help them, and for women— low-income women in particular—who had their own employment claims for sex- ual harassment but no access to lawyers to bring them." From those meetings came the launch of Time's Up, a movement and organization to support victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. It includes the legal de- fense fund Tchen helped to create, which would provide women in the workplace THE TIME IS NOW By Kimberly Olson e Time's Up Legal Defense Fund is especially focused on providing services to low-income people facing sexual ha- rassment. Two-thirds of those who have reached out for help self-identify as low income, including domestic workers, fast- food restaurant employees, and big-box retail workers. "Lots of folks, sadly, have come to us too late because the statute of limitations is so short in these cases and they've never had access to resourc- es before," Tchen says. "But many have said that, even if they didn't have legal recourse, at least they were able to talk to someone who believed them and who walked them through the process, so they understood what was going on." Reimagining workplaces While supporting victims of sexual ha- rassment and sexual assault is a core goal, Time's Up also has a broader vision to support initiatives—from legislation to corporate policy and hiring practices— that help women realize their full poten- tial at work. e time is ripe, as many organization leaders are eager to push their culture forward. "At the White House, a lot of companies came to us and said they got it—they got that they would be more profitable if they were more diverse, and knew they needed the talent that women bring to their businesses," Tchen says. "CEOs who were meeting with us were struggling: 'How can I do better? How can I address this?'" ose questions were at the forefront of Tchen's mind when she joined Buckley Sandler. "When I got here in September of last year, we agreed that we would start a Workplace Culture Compliance practice, which we did," she says. "So when the Harvey Weinstein story broke, we were already building a practice on these issues."

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