Last week, I was discussing the rise of the #metoo and #timesup movements among women in showbiz, and the template they provide for women in other industries to make their own voices heard on the powerful subjects of sexual harassment and the fight for equality. I offer seven strategies that can be used across industries; last week I talked about the importance of having credible spokespeople and consistent messaging. Here are five more strategies to keep in mind:
- The Power of the Press
The two Times reporters, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, aggressively pursued the Weinstein story for months, but the rumors about the now disgraced film mogul have apparently been on the radar for women in showbiz and the media for years. While I don’t know exactly why Judd and the others decided to speak out when they did, I think their choice in media outlets was spot-on.
Aside from boasting a huge worldwide circulation, The New York Times can be trusted to publish an accurate, exhaustive, and unbiased article about this polarizing subject. And given the fact that so many outlets were bound to cover the story once the Times piece ran, it was important that this first article set the tone for the hundreds of stories expected to follow. Other industries might be better suited to a different media outlet, of course, but just make sure it’s one that will not sensationalize the topic for their own agenda.
- The Social Media Boost
In a matter of minutes, Alyssa Milano’s headline-grabbing #MeToo tweet last October effectively united millions of women in showbiz around the world. With an incredible ability to mobilize people in such great numbers in such short timespans, social media is more powerful today than a march down Main Street. If your resources are limited, make social media a top priority.
- The Op/Ed Piece
A PR staple since forever, a well-written editorial by a reputable source is always effective. Consider Salma Hayek’s introspective New York Times opinion piece recounting her own personal experiences with Weinstein. It’s so raw and unfiltered that it could not have been written by anyone but her—making it all the more powerful as ammunition against the sexual harassment of women in showbiz. Look for a talented female writer in your field willing to share their own equally potent story on paper.
- The Speaker’s Platform
Once again, I realize that very few industries provide an opportunity to speak out on live television as recording artist Janelle Monáe did at this year’s Grammy Awards. Her well-chosen remarks translated perfectly into attention-grabbing headlines around the world:
“We come in peace, but we mean business. And to those who would dare try and silence us, we offer you two words: Time’s up,” she said.
“We say time’s up for pay inequality. Time’s up for discrimination. And time’s up for the abuse of power,” she said, before addressing the music industry in particular.
While maybe not possible on network TV, women in other industries can look for similar speaker platforms at galas, awards shows, and conventions—especially those covered by trade and local media.
- Visual Reminders
While many fashion and political pundits criticized the women in showbiz who adhered to the Golden Globes’ all-black dress code as a superficial gesture, I’ve always found such visual reminders highly effective in keeping an issue top of mind. In addition, they serve to document an important moment in time given all the photos and videos that are bound to record the symbolic act. I also appreciated the white roses worn in a similar vein on the Grammy red carpet a few weeks later.
As encouraging as it has been to see the truth about sexual harassment and abuse come out, and to see positive changes for women in entertainment, I think we all know it’s going to be a long haul. I hope women and men will use all the tools at their disposal to promote a message of fairness, respect, and equality, and to make sure the times, they keep a-changin’.