Guilds March With Women as New Codes of Conduct Gain Steam

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Women's March in Washington

Workplace equality makes progress in the streets and on paper.

On the one-year anniversary of the national Women’s Marches — and three months after revelations about Harvey Weinstein shook Hollywood — thousands of women and men across the country are marching and rallying Saturday morning for female empowerment in the face of the Trump administration and exposure of widespread sexual harassment and assault in entertainment, media, politics and other sectors.

Among them: leaders and members from various Hollywood unions and guilds. In Los Angeles, the contingents include American Federation of Musicians Local 47, Writers Guild of America West, SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America. The WGA East is marching in New York and Washington. And about 1,000 people at the Sundance Film Festival rallied earlier in the morning.

Meanwhile, industry organizations are attempting to institutionalize new norms by promulgating codes of conduct regarding sexual harassment. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may have been first out of the gate, with the Dec. 6 announcement of a code. The Producers Guild of America issued a code on Friday. And SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris disclosed Jan. 7 that her union is working on one as well, a fact that she and national executive director David White reiterated Friday in an email to board members.

Canada’s entertainment community is taking an industry-wide approach, with several unions and other organizations working jointly. The U.S. industry has formed a Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, led by law professor Anita Hill, whose 1991 accusations at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings shed a dramatic light on the treatment of women in the workplace. The new commission’s work, according to Hill, will include sexual harassment guidelines as part of a wide-ranging focus on equity, power and harassment.