The Clock Has Run Out

The Time’s Up campaign, founded at the start of this year, has already become a massive force for change. Advanced by women in the entertainment industry, the movement is dedicated to fighting sexual harassment and gender inequality for women everywhere. Over 300 well-known women who work in film, television and theater and beyond have signed an open letter and shared the issue with their fans and followers.

Away from the glitz and glamour of the red carpet, one prominent lawyer we know well here in Chicago was a crucial leader in the effort and helped organize the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund: Tina Tchen.

Among her many prominent civic leadership roles over the years, Tina has served as President of the CBF Board, Assistant to President Barack Obama, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Those roles and experiences were the perfect set up for her leadership in forming the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.

The fund is housed at the National Women’s Law Center and connects people experiencing sexual misconduct in the workplace with legal assistance. It has raised over $21 million in funding, recruited more than 500 participating attorneys, and the Fund already has connected more than 2,500 women to legal help from the network. The fund works with each woman to find a local attorney who will be able to represent her. The fund then helps to pay for the attorney’s services so that women coming forward with sexual harassment claims are not held back by financial barriers. Attorneys interested in joining the fund and offering pro bono services can join the Legal Network for Gender Equality.

Additionally, Tina has been named the head of the Recording Academy’s Task Force for Inclusion. This task force will identify barriers and biases that underrepresented communities face in the music industry and within the operations of the Recording Academy. The task force will also examine how women are treated within the music industry.

While both the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and the Task Force for Inclusion are relatively new, both are poised to yield groundbreaking results. Tina is a stalwart defender of women’s rights and access to justice, and has proven to be a catalyst for change. She is an extraordinary example of the influence and impact a lawyer can have.

Stay tuned for news this summer about an exciting CBF initiative which Tina will be helping to lead this year.