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When #MeToo became a movement

Dec 21, 2017

It started with allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood film mogul, Harvey Weinstein, and grew into a global movement, involving millions of women - and men - all across the globe. The Weinstein scandal was like somebody flicked a switch and suddenly, people from all creeds, colours and backgrounds felt empowered to speak out about their own experiences of sexual abuse and harassment – joining together behind the hashtag #MeToo.

We now know that the hashtag was actually started in 2006 by women’s rights activist, Tarana Burke, while she was working with sexual violence survivors. But it took on a new life in October this year when actor Alyssa Milano, one of Weinstein’s biggest critics, called for more women to speak out about their own experiences. Her involvement sparked nearly a million #MeToo stories in 24 hours, highlighting the sheer scale of the issue – and ensuring the perpetrators had nowhere to hide.

The power of the movement led to those involved being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, as well as helping feminism be named word of the year by the dictionary, Merriam Webster.

It is also a reminder of why diversity and equality are so important in the workplace, and why we must never stop working to increase women’s representation in senior positions, particularly in certain male-dominated industries - to achieve a true balance of power between the genders. It’s for this reason that campaigns like the Tech Talent Charter, which we recently reported on, are so valuable.

Campaigns like this ensure that things are gradually changing, but there is still a long way to go. So let’s hope we see the momentum continue into 2018.

And if you’re ever in need of support or advice following a sexual assault, then there is loads of help out there from organisations such as The Survivors Trust or Victim Support.