Sexual harassment in the worplace has exploded in Hollywood. Over a couple of months both women and men came out about being sexually harassed by their bosses and colleagues. Instead of just outcry over 300 popular actors, producers, directors, entertainment executives and more took action into their own hands to stop what has become a systemic norm in their industry. BUT realizing it's happening everywhere.
The "Time's Up Now" campaign was started by well known women in media and 700,000 female farmworkers to say 'enough is enough!' The campaign "is a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere. From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live."
It "addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential. We partner with leading advocates for equality and safety to improve laws, employment agreements, and corporate policies; help change the face of corporate boardrooms and the C-suite; and enable more women and men to access our legal system to hold wrongdoers accountable."
According to a Cosmopolitan Survey 1 in 3 women ages 18 to 34 have been sexually harassed. It's a pervassive problem that has affected women in all industries, whether male domoinated or in an office or field. And 2 thirds of the time it's NOT reported.
Women who breat pump in the work place or nurse in public are consistantly harassed for doing either. We always hear stories in the media about a mom being harassed for breastfeeding in public or companies not accomodating employees. Even co-workers mocking women who have to pump at work. Situations like these make it harder for women to continue nursing and are blatantly discriminatory. Employment of mothers outside the home, especially full-time employment, has a negative influence on duration of breastfeeding.
According to the Civil Rights Act and Pregnancy Discrimination Act "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of gender, but despite breastfeeding's inherent connection to gender, Title VII has not helped breastfeeding mothers. The Supreme Court initially found that Title VII did not even protect women from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978) amended Title VII to protect against discrimination “because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.” Arguably, breastfeeding can be considered a related medical condition. However, federal courts, as summarized in Derungs v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, have repeatedly found that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act's protection does not extend to discrimination based on breastfeeding."
Women who are discriminated against in the work place for pumping or nursing in public are inherently sexually harassed. Because breasts are objectified in western civilization pumping and nursing are often times considered a sexual act. Leading to the discrimination and sexual harassment women face in the work place or publicly.
"Time's Up Now" applies to nursing moms in the work place because it tackles the sexual objectification of women's bodies. They have taken several steps to tackle sexual harassment:
- Created a legal defense fund, backed by $13 million in donations, to help less privileged women — like janitors, nurses and workers at farms, factories, restaurants and hotels — protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it.
- Legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.
- A drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies that has already begun making headway.
By uniting across all industries the goal is to make a substantial change in company policies and in affect change the way women are treated publicly. If you are sexually harassed or discriminated at work for being a nursing mom take the following steps to protect yourself:
- Know your rights. Read your company's policies and educated yourself about the federal laws created to protect you.
- Keep record of every inappropriate act taken against you. Write it down, include the date, where it happened and with whom.
- Speak up. Human resources are essentially there to protect the company. If it's a serious situation tell your supervisor, human resources and take legal action if necessary. If it's your supervisor, go to their supervisor and if no one is above him/her take legal action. If your co-workers harass you make it clear about what they are doing. They are not your friends if they think that type of behavior is ok.
- AND if your company does not take appropriate action there is nothing as debilitating as bad press. If you cannot afford a lawyer reach out to organizations that will support you OR go to the media.