Emma Watson has spoken out after launching a free legal advice helpline with Time’s Up UK for women experiencing sexual harassment in England and Wales.
Watson said in a statement that the fact that the organization is the only specialist free legal advice line is “completely staggering” to her.
The actress also stated that as many as one in two women experience sexual harassment in the workplace.
Watson said, according to The Guardian: “Understanding what your rights are, how you can assert them, and the choices you have if you’ve experienced harassment, is such a vital part of creating safe workplaces for everyone, and this advice line is such a huge development in ensuring that all women are supported, wherever we work.
“It finally feels like people are realizing the scale of the problem, and I’m certainly hopeful that with global standards such as the recent International Labour Organization treaty on harassment at work we’ll start to see a new climate of prevention and accountability on this issue domestically.”
Rights of Women’s senior legal officer, Deeba Syed, added in a statement: “This advice line’s purpose is to empower women to exercise their legal rights in the workplace. By advising women about their legal options and increasing their understanding of equalities and discrimination law, we will be able to help them make informed choices about next steps, including how to navigate the legal system with confidence.”
“We know that complaints of sexual harassment at work are still frequently responded to in a gendered manner that is negative, undermining or can lead to victimization. That is why Rights of Women will also work towards dismantling the underlying structural problems that puts the burden on victims and makes it difficult for women to come forward through its policy work.”