How #MeToo Became a Global Movement

Success Inspires Success

At the Women's March in Washington, D.C., January 2017 Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

On October 15, 2017, American actress Alyssa Milano posted a tweet urging women to speak up and out about their experiences with sexual assault or harassment using the phrase “me too.” Overnight, social media erupted, as #MeToo took hold in every corner of the world. By the end of the day, there were similar movements in multiple languages, including Arabic, Farsi, French, Hindi, and Spanish. Today, women in 85 different countries are using the hashtag to bring attention to the violence and harassment they face in daily life and to demand change.

Even though the civil rights activist Tarana Burke started the “Me Too” movement over a decade ago, the global response to Milano’s tweet took many, including Burke, by surprise. What accounts for #MeToo’s overwhelming success in 2017 and beyond? Many point to social media, but that is only part of the story. Existing women’s movements all over the world

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