I wanted to share more of what we’re doing to fight harassment in the workplace. We now have a list of free and confidential resources on the WIA website, which you can find here: http://womeninanimation.org/sexualharassment/. Working with The Animation Guild, we are organizing a panel discussion with a legal expert and counseling consultant to answer questions. This will be an opportunity to find out what you can do for yourself or for your colleagues. We will announce details on this panel next week.
Additionally, two weeks ago, we convened a meeting of independent studio owners to discuss what policies and practices they currently have in place to support and protect their employees. All the owners were eager to discuss best practices, share resources and commit to making sure things are different in their studios. The discussions continue, and we will be sharing more about this in the next couple of weeks.
Last week, we launched the Roar Art Project to give people a platform, a way to band together with others in the industry to express themselves on this topic in whatever medium they choose. As we’ve seen over the last few weeks, the antidote to the poison is talking about it; breaking the silence and bringing the secrets out into the light. Making art is exactly that. Our hope is that making art will be cathartic for the folks who do it as well as for the ones who see and share it.
I’d like to thank all those who have already shared their art with us. Your work and your stories are sobering, but also inspirational. I’d also like to thank those who took the time to share their questions and concerns about this project with us.
The primary question has been around the terms of the agreement, which were stricter than we meant them to be. I want to be clear that WIA has no intention of owning this art or profiting by it. We have since revised our terms to make this clear. WIA will be allowed to share the art in different venues and mediums including on-line, at our events and possibly in publications. But the art always remains owned by the creator.
We welcome your feedback on all of this and your suggestions as to how we can continue to make a positive impact. WIA will continue to do what it can to push the agenda. In addition to the general heinous nature of this behavior, sexual harassment is a key component of the low retention rate of women in the animation industry. Stopping all forms of harassment is central to WIA’s mission to increase the number of women and other under-represented groups in creative roles so that more diverse voices will be heard. It will make for better entertainment and an overall better culture.