Tag

funds

Browsing

Is it ‘TIME’S UP’ for the 2017 feminist movement?

Women in the entertainment industry — including actresses America Ferrera and Eva Longoria; lawyer Nina L. Shaw; actress Reese Witherspoon; producer Shonda Rhimes; and lawyer Tina Tchen, to name a few — have come together to form an initiative that will fight systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and in blue-collar workplaces.

You may be thinking: sure, a whole bunch of famous people have come together to do some fundraising, big deal?! This happens a few times a year. But, in reality, the initiative TIME’S UP is much more than a pet project spearhead by a select number of privileged people. Instead of focusing on the sensationalist media coverage of the #MeToo movement, the initiative provides real support for victims and calls for new legislation that will penalize companies that tolerate sexual harassment.

As the initiative’s website says, “TIME’S UP is a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere. From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live.”

After the social campaigns and the marches — this call for political and legal change is the next logical step. Ironically, it was a group of victims rather than those elected to lead our nations who stood up to call for this change.

TIME’S UP will provide a legal defence fund, based on $13 million in donations, to help less privileged men and women protect themselves from the fallout of reporting sexual misconduct. The fund will be administered by the National Women’s Law Centre, which has a network of lawyer and public relations professionals available to provide assistance.

The initiative is also calling for an increase of women (including members of the LGBTQ community and people of colour) in positions of power across all industries, as well as equal representation, benefits, and pay. Perhaps North America can follow Iceland, who made equal pay mandatory on Jan. 1. Every single company in Iceland now has to obtain a certification saying that men and women are being paid equally in similar positions.

Can you imagine every company in North America needing to obtain proof of pay equality? It’s the stuff of dreams.

TIME’S UP was formed after 700,000 female farmworkers sent messages and letters to celebrities throughout the entertainment industry following the allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo social media campaign. “Even though we work in very different environments, we share a common experience of being preyed upon by individuals who have the power to hire, fire, blacklist and otherwise threaten our economic, physical and emotional security,” they wrote. “In these moments of despair, and as you cope with scrutiny and criticism because you have bravely chosen to speak out against the harrowing acts that were committed against you, please know that you’re not alone. We believe and stand with you.”

The TIME’S UP website leads with a letter written to show support for those farmworkers, in which over 300 people within the entertainment industry acknowledge their suffering and stand with them to try and help change the system.

The initiative is volunteer-led and doesn’t have a leadership team. It is comprised instead of smaller working groups, each one tackling a certain area. For example, one group is creating a framework to end sexual harassment in show business while another is reviewing legislation that will tackle abuse within businesses, including the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.

About half of men think women are well-represented in leadership, despite the numbers that show otherwise. When the #MeToo campaign started to trend, most men couldn’t fathom how many women had been sexually assaulted.

2017 may have been labelled as the year for feminism and women’s rights, but nothing actually changed. Perhaps more people are aware of the situation than before, but there was no legislation promised by politicians and no guarantees made by industry management.

There is still a lot that needs to change in order to ensure gender equality — and our time is not up!

 Featured Image by Vini.

37 muncipalities approved for Ontario cycling funding

Ontario is well on its way to becoming one of the provinces most dedicated to cycling, with $10 million funding for the Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program.

Cycling Infrastructure is a part of the province’s #CycleON Action Plan 1.0, which is a plan to increase accessibility for bike riding. Ontario is allocating funding for cycling lanes, off-road cycling, cycling traffic signals and signs, transportation bridges and bike racks. The funding will be allocated to 37 municipalities across the province. Municipalities were eligible for funding up to 50 per cent of the total project, with a maximum of $325,000 per municipality. The program was launched on July 3, 2015 and nearly 150 municipalities showed interest.  Out of the 37 approved municipalities, 25 areas are set to receive the maximum amount of funding.

Toronto and the GTHA, Whitby, York Region, Richmond Hill, Brampton, Markham, Newmarket, Mississauga, Niagara Region and Tecumseh received maximum funding. To the east, Brockville, Peterborough, Ottawa, United areas of Prescott and Russell will also receive $325,000 for cycling projects. In Southwestern Ontario, Chatham-Kent, Cambridge, London, Lasalle, Kitchener, Kingsville, and Windsor has been approved. Northern Ontario will also receive the highest possible amount in Orillia, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Temiskaming Shores.

#CycleON Action Plan 1.0  outlines the guiding principles to make Ontario one of the top cycling destinations in the world. The plan sets out five goals for 2033.

The 20-year plan outlined specific objectives to create an ideal cycling network. These objectives stress the importance of creating a diverse cycling community, improving infrastructures to benefit cyclists on the road, and making highways and streets safer. It also emphasized that promoting great cycling trails to encourage more people to use their bikes and increase cycling tourism opportunities would help develop cycling as a way to commute as well.

With more investment and infrastructure into creating safe and fun cycling paths, it will create a stronger biking community and healthier people. It will be exciting to see the results of the municipalities approved for cycling funding and to bike throughout Ontario on well-funded paths.