Reese Witherspoon isn’t shocked by the recent flood of sexual harassment stories coming out of Hollywood and industries around the world.
“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,” says Witherspoon, who made her acting debut at age 14. “It is just incredible that the media and the world started believing us all and listening.”
Witherspoon shared her own experience of harassment and sexual assault, including by a director when she was 16, at an event in Los Angeles last year. Now 41, she’s a force for the Time’s Up movement, which is raising money for women to have better resources for on-the-job-harassment lawsuits.
“We are trying to level the playing field for all women and men who have suffered from discrimination, harassment and abuse,” says Witherspoon, who stars alongside Oprah in this month’s A Wrinkle In Time.
Witherspoon is adamant that the time for change is now. “I feel a shift, completely – a reckoning of people who have been silent finally coming forward and speaking out, even if their voice shakes, as I know mine did when I told my story,” she says in the latest issue of marie claire. "The female leaders within every industry have to stand up for those who are voiceless. It's profoundly overdue."
The special International Women’s Day issue of marie claire is on sale Thursday.
Reese Witherspoon stars in Elizabeth Arden’s March On campaign, with all proceeds going to UN Women for initiatives to help advance the progress of gender equality.