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OHMYGOSSIP

Reese Witherspoon: The female leaders within every industry have to stand up for those who are voiceless and silent

OHMYGOSSIP — Reese Witherspoon feels a responsibility to stand up for “voiceless” women around the world. The Academy Award-winning actress has been one of the most influential figures behind the Time’s Up campaign, which fights against sexual harassment, and Reese feels as though she has a duty to support women who are less privileged than herself.

Asking whether she expects to see major changes in light of the Hollywood sex scandal, Reese – who previously admitted to being assaulted by a director when she was 16 – said: “I feel a shift, completely, a reckoning of people who have been silent for so long finally coming forward and speaking out even if their voice shakes, as I know mine did when I told my story. The female leaders within every industry have to stand up for those who are voiceless and silent, and we have to do better to create more balanced cultures with female leadership and leadership with people of colour. It’s just profoundly overdue.”

Reese, 41, also revealed that she wasn’t remotely surprised by the extent of the sex scandal, saying that many of her friends have previously told her similarly distressing stories in private.

She told the March issue of America’s Marie Claire magazine: “Sadly, I don’t find any of this shocking. Women have been sharing stories in each other’s living rooms and workplaces for as long as I’ve been a working woman. It’s just incredible that the media and the world started believing us all and listening. I was particularly moved by the women at Ford Motor Company who came forward and told their stories of harassment and abuse, and by the women in my own industry who told their stories so bravely when they had nothing to gain.”
Asked why so many victims remained silent for so long, Reese explained: “The majority of women – if they came forward – were stigmatised for reporting and in some cases lost their jobs. There was simply no reason to share your story if the results would be so punitive.

“That’s why I’ve been working very hard on an initiative called Time’s Up with more than 400 women in my industry to raise money for women to have better resources for on-the-job-harassment lawsuits in their own industries. We are trying to level the playing field for all women and men who have suffered from discrimination, harassment, and abuse.”

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