Why are we here at a Power Women Summit in downtown Los Angeles today?
We are here because the women of media and entertainment are galvanized for change. We are ready to stop talking about getting to a place of equality and start getting there.
At this Power Women Summit, there are people from every single major media and entertainment company. At this event you will see stars from movies and television. You will meet the executives who decide on what goes into our cultural bloodstream. You’ll hear from the producers and writers who tell our society’s stories. The journalists who demand accountability. The entrepreneurs who drive innovation. The activists who speak out for social justice. The politicians who are going to change policy when we vote them in on November 6.
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We have come together to be inspired, but not just to be inspired — to address how we get to the goal of 50/50 by 2020.
This means every one of us is an agent of change.
In the last decade, women still directed only 4 percent of the top-grossing films. Of the top 100 films last year, women held only 33 onscreen leading roles. We are just 18 percent of the C-suite senior executive leadership. We are only 19 percent of media companies’ boards of directors. Two percent of film composers. And 22 percent of the singers of the most popular songs in the last five years.
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Men write 80 percent of the film reviews in this country, and 65 percent of critics are white men. There were 2.15 male speaking roles to every one female role in the movies last year, with no meaningful change in the last decade.
But here is what we know, and what possibly many of us feel. There is change afoot. And we are driving this change together. The creator of the “inclusion rider” is at the summit, Dr. Stacy Smith. So is the woman who history records as a pioneer in speaking the truth around sexual harassment, Anita Hill. And the first person to stand up and say #MeToo, Tarana Burke.
Commitment starts at home. TheWrap is pleased to announce that it commits to 50-50 gender parity among its film critics by January 1, 2019. As a company we are already at gender equity, but we are aware of the special role that critics play in shaping public opinion. We have just added Yolanda Machado to our pool of critics, and will add more women before the end of the year.
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Let’s think about what commitments to change we can make, and encourage decision makers to take action.
I am not an activist. I am a journalist and an entrepreneur. I started bringing women together for empowering conversations nine years ago, not long after I started TheWrap, mostly for myself. And here’s what I’ve learned.
There are so many incredible women in our community. And there is strength in numbers. We don’t get it done alone. We are changing the game. We welcome those of all genders and gender identities, people of all races and ethnicities, every member of the LGBTQIA community, people of every religion, every age and all abilities.