Jane Fonda: Kavanaugh confirmation would be a 'catastrophe'

Actress and activist Jane Fonda says she's worried that the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court will be a "catastrophe" for women and workers' rights.

"I think it will be a catastrophe, frankly, if this nomination goes through, for everyone and our children and unfortunately our grandchildren," Fonda said at an event in Washington on Thursday.

"Look, women's rights, worker's rights, will be shunted to the side and that's just the beginning. It will be a catastrophe."

Fonda was in Washington to join the coalition of “Unstoppable Women Workers,” which included several prominent activists as well as domestic and farm workers. The group is lobbying Congress for better protections for women in the workforce. Fonda and the coalition held a public forum at the Capitol on Thursday.

Fonda said that fighting for women in the workplace has been a driving force of her career.

She said that learning about the difficulties women face in the workplace led her to work on the iconic film "9 to 5" with stars Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin, about women workers dealing with a sexist and overbearing boss.

She said the workplace had changed since the movie, which came out in 1980.

“If we made another '9 to 5' today, it would be very different because the offices today are not the same,” Fonda said. "[There are] contract workers now who have no benefits or protections at all.”

The activists taking part in the coalition include Monica Ramirez, the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Womens’ Alliance; Fatima Goss Graves, the president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center; Milly Trevino-Sauceda, the co-director of the National Farmworkers Womens’ Alliance; Myrla Baldonado, a former domestic worker and organizer with Pilipino Workers Center; and Ai-Jen Poo, the executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

The group is in Washington with a delegation of domestic and farm workers to lobby lawmakers. Among their demands are expanding Title VII protections to all workers rather than just those working in companies with 15 employees or more.

Poo, who also spoke at the event, said it was important to show that women in Hollywood were in the fight together with women in domestic work, on farms and in small businesses in fighting to be free of abuse and harassment at work.

“We’re kind of in a new moment where women are insisting that we shine a light everywhere on the experiences of women and, and not replicating some of the old hierarchies, at least in the way that we’re doing this work,” Poo said.

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“I think it’s really important for us to remember that sexual harassment is, it’s not a partisan issue,” Ramirez said. “It affects individuals of all political backgrounds.”

At the event, Fonda hailed the #MeToo movement which has sought to draw attention to sexual harassment and abuse by prominent men in numerous industries.

“I never thought I would live to see a day when women were actually heard,” Fonda said at the event.

“Now I’m very aware of the fact that in the beginning, this happened the way it did because the women who were speaking out were white, and they were famous.”

She said that after stories started pouring out of Hollywood in the wake of the Me Too movement, she and others in Hollywood received a “Dear Sisters” letter from women in the National Farmworkers Women's Alliance.

Now, Fonda said, she wants to be a "repeater" to help women in other fields who might have a more difficult time being heard than those in Hollywood.