#MeToo and Time’s Up: What’s the difference and why do they matter?

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Image credit: Damian Dovarganes/AP

What is #MeToo?

On October 5th, 2017 The New York Times published an exposé detailing multiple allegations of sexual assault made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Within the article, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan were named as two of the countless women alleging he had sexually assaulted them.

One of his most vocal critics was actress Alyssa Milano, who tweeted: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Within hours, thousands had replied with their personal stories, and #MeToo became a movement unlike any other, tackling the topic of sexual assault and harassment head on.

‘Me Too’ dates back to 2006, when activist Tarana Burke coined the term as a way to bring together and support victims of sexual misconduct, with a focus on young girls of colour. Burke was inspired to take action after she had a conversation with a 13-year-old girl who told her about the sexual abuse she was suffering at the hands of her step-father. She describes the movement beyond the hashtag as “the start of a larger conversation” with the goal of “disrupting all systems that allow sexual violence to flourish.”

What is Time’s Up?

As a result of #MeToo, a group of over 300 women in Hollywood were inspired to form the Time’s Up movement, widely considered as the next step for #MeToo. Safety and equal opportunities in the workplace are the main goals of the organisation, aiming to eradicate workplace inequality, citing the imbalance of power as the root of sexually exploitative behaviour.

me too prominent figures

Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon and America Fererra are among the many high profile names backing the movements. Image credit: Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic; Christopher Polk/Getty Images; JB Lacroix/ WireImage

The group, spearheaded by the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington and America Fererra, aim to get new legislation passed to protect women in the workplace by focussing on issues such as equal work environments and equal pay. Christy Haubegger, a CAA executive who helped to launch Time’s Up, spoke to Time Magazine and had this to say: “Time’s Up was founded on the premise that everyone, every human being, deserves a right to earn a living, to take care of themselves, to take care of their families, free of the impediments of harassment and sexual assault and discrimination.”

Inspired by the #MeToo movement, a survey on sexual harassment in the workplace was conducted by the BBC in October. More than 2,000 British adults were involved in the survey, with the aim of providing updated figures regarding sexual harassment. This ranged from inappropriate comments to sexual assaults, at work or a place of study. Some of the findings from the survey are below:

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While #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement are separate entities, they were both launched on the back of the courageous victims coming forward, triggering an unprecedented global crusade to end sexual misconduct and assault. Despite all that has been accomplished since the groundbreaking New York Times exposé in October, for now at least, time’s certainly not up for Time’s Up.

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