29-year-old English actress Emma Watson has established a free legal advice hotline for women in England and Wales experiencing workplace sexual harassment. According to the Time’s Up activist, this is the only helpline of its kind in the United Kingdom. The line was launched by donations from the public, and is currently backed by Time’s Up U.K.’s justice and equality fund, and managed by Rosa, which is the U.K. Fund for Women and Girls. The charity Rights of Women will provide advice for callers.
“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,” said Watson.
“This advice line’s purpose is to empower women to exercise their legal rights in the workplace,” said Rights of Women’s senior legal officer, Deeba Syed. “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.”
Appointed a United Nations Women Goodwill ambassador in 2014, Watson has long been an activist on behalf of women. In 2015, when she was just 25, she landed number 26 on Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. She also maintains a feminist book club via Goodreads called Our Shared Shelf. Watson has visited impoverished countries to advocate for education for young women. As an actress, her screen credits include the “Harry Potter” films, “Beauty & the Beast,” “The Bling Ring,” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” as well as Greta Gerwig’s eagerly awaited Louisa May Alcott adaptation, “Little Women.”
Watson’s announcement comes on the heels of a bad weekend for women in the entertainment workplace. “The Rookie” star Afton Williamson publicly disclosed sexual harassment and discrimination on the set of the ABC series, and announced her exit from the show via Instagram. ABC has launched an independent investigation to probe the inappropriate conduct.