Bianca was pleased to get her dream job in sports management.
Though being a sports information director meant odd hours and rushed deadlines, she had been working for this career opportunity for years. She even moved two times zones away from her family to get her start.
At first, she was pleased to see her by-line every week covering the professional teams in her city. The football team struggled that year, but basketball was on a hot streak and she just landed a critical interview with the newly signed soccer star. Bianca’s dad didn’t like her going into a male-dominated career. But to Bianca’s protest, ‘which career isn’t full of men?” She was aware of the social mores with the customary kiss on the cheek when a woman entered the room. The guys club and locker room banter continued as if to say they trusted her not to report them. However, the touching was too much. She found a few men patted her on the butt at the end of meetings. Is this some sports thing? The slap on the butt evolved into squeezing her shoulder, or a hand lingering around too long on her waist. She thought of going to HR but heard 1) they do nothing and 2) the head of HR was a man.
Bianca’s love for the job faded. She had been there less than a year and had moved so far away. She couldn’t afford to leave. However, the increasing harassment made it so difficult to stay. In complaining to her buddy over happy hour drinks, Bianca learned of another option.
In 2017, several actresses and activists formed a “Time’s Up” Legal Defense Fund which is connected to the National Women’s Law Center. The fund was formed to help women combat sexual harassment in the workplace. So often women are relegated to low paying jobs, and can’t afford to complain or leave. As a result, work cultures become accustomed to harassing behaviors, and women feel trapped.
Since the fund was founded, over $22 million has been raised; 3400 have been connected to the over 800 attorneys in the network. Of this 3400, over 2/3s report being low wage workers.
The events of the last year show that this fictitious Bianca is not alone. She is not the only one facing sexual harassment at work, and she is not the only one potentially eligible for support from Time’s UP. Everyone should feel safe on the job.
Read more posts by Leah Hollis, Ed.D. here. Leah is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.
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