by Mirra Price
On the heels of the Me#Too! and Time’s Up! Movements, is the beginning of a transformation in the power structure between men and women. I wholeheartedly support the myriad women who have stood up and called out sexual misconduct, some for recent sex crimes and some for sexist violent actions that occurred many decades ago.
Women are starting to feel safe to tell our stories of male sexist violence since we feel safety in numbers. A few journalists such as Ronan Farrow who exposed Harvey Weinstein, which ushered in the Me#Too Movement, have courageously reported women’s stories in order to catch and prosecute male predators.
The actresses who started the #Time’s Up Movement have made it possible for poor women service workers to afford the legal representation they need in fighting workplace harassment lawsuits. I applaud all those who are actively working to make these movements successful.
I want to assert, however, that we aren’t done yet. Just as the women’s liberation movement, as significant as it was, did not address and win all the important fights for equality, #MeToo and #Time’s Up, though important, are not addressing all the necessary inequalities women face today.
In the 1980s I filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against an employer and was fired the next day. The EEOC was too backlogged with such complaints to investigate. The attorney for Women’s Studies at Indiana University who assisted with my case against a greeting card company, could not get me reinstated. I turned down a settlement, which I regret, since it would have provided some financial relief.
Nowadays, the EEOC is even more backlogged with severe funding and personnel cuts. It is my hope that the #Times Up Movement can help fill the gap in this lack of government legal assistance for workplace discrimination. The issues for women in the workplace are huge: equal pay for equal work, paid maternity leave, a government funded daycare system, and guarantees against sexual harassment, discrimination and sexual violence.
Perhaps, in order to avoid bullying, sexism, and all forms of male violence, women need to create our own organizations and women-run workplaces. I am heading in that direction. Believe me.