Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Australian #TimesUp initiative NOW to combat workplace sexual harassment

Journalist Tracey Spicer and a group of prominent media figures have partnered to launch the NOW initiative to tackle sexual harassment in Australia in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

The NOW initiative is described as a ‘non-profit, non-partisan organisation for people across all industries who have been sexually harassed, assaulted or intimidated’. In a statement on its website, NOW said it aims to ‘work with government, business, statutory authorities, and the community and legal sectors to make workplaces safe for everyone’.

A crowdfunding campaign launched by the initiative on 25 March is raising money for a fund to help people who have experienced sexual harassment understand their rights and options, and support them if they wish to tell their story. The fund will also help connect people with counselling and legal services, including NOW’s own network of lawyers around Australia.

Carnival Australia executive chairman Ann Sherry has been named as NOW’s inaugural patron, with writers Sofie Laguna, Nikki Gemmell, Michelle Law and Candy Bowers named among the initiative’s ambassadors. Other ambassadors from across the arts industry include Tina Arena, Deborah Mailman, Missy Higgins, Abby Earl, Melinda Schneider, Helen Dallimore, Sarah Blasko and more.

The campaign follows Spicer’s callout in 2017 for people working in media to contact her with their stories of workplace sexual harassment. Spicer said she received more than 1600 responses.

NOW’s campaign has received more than $36,000 in donations at the time of publishing, with the campaigns goal set at $250,000. The campaign will continue for a month.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, over half of the book industry reported being sexually harassed in Books+Publishing’s survey on sexual harassment in the Australian book industry.


Category: Local news