I wanted to take today and talk about International Women’s day, and take a look at the status of women in the world, and in our industry.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on March 8. The day has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist, and activist once explained: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” (Read More)
This is a day to think about our sisters across the world, and down the street. Check in with a group that is doing good for women, like the Girl Scouts or WIFVNE. Reach out to become a mentor. Talk to a male counterpart about what they think and get the conversation between the sexes going. I have long preached this (getting men involved) within the context of women in film. Men’s involvement is paramount.
From the IWD website: “Two thirds of those surveyed believe that women won’t achieve equality in their country unless men take actions to support women’s rights too. However, opinion is split on whether too much is being expected of men to help the fight for equality. 43% agree that men are being expected to do too much compared with 46% who disagree. Agreement is higher among men than women (50% vs 36%).” (Read More)
What about the film industry? Here is a headline that should give you hope:
Number of Films with Women and People of Color in Leading Roles Hits Record High (According to a new study from USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative)
2018-2019: Representation for women and people of color in top grossing films is higher than ever. The study examines leading and co-leading roles in the top 100 grossing movies of 2018 (as well as those from the preceding 11 years for comparison)
As opposed to last year’s assessment:
2017-2018: There has been no significant statistical improvement in the representation of women, people of color, LGBT characters, or characters with disability in film over the last decade. (Read the Report)
Is progress being made? How do we really measure it? When will we feel the effect of Hollywood in our own communities. For those who are data nerds (like myself) our sisters in NY have a great page of reports and resources on the Status of Women in the Industry.
Why is this important? Hollywood and the film industry are the mirror that we hold up to ourselves in society. If we see our lives reflected in film, television and social media it breeds a sense of self. How the world should be. For too long it’s been very white and very male. This IWD, I hope you will challenge yourself to reach outside your comfort zone and shine a light on your sisters this day and for the rest of the year. Need ideas? Check out the resources on the IWD site here: Lean In