March 24, 2017

Is Enough Being Done to Promote Gender Equality?

Is Enough Being Done to Promote Gender Equality? Harbor Picture Company’s Kellan Anderson and other industry insiders share their perspectives.

Published by Olivia Atkins on March 8, 2017

This International Women’s Day, industry insiders weigh in & discuss the importance of gender equality today.

It’s International Women’s Day and while various agencies have come up with pieces of work to celebrate the event – something we’ll be rounding up for you later today – we’ve decided to approach women in senior executive roles to find out what they feel still needs addressing.

Despite a flux of initiatives to bolster gender equality, there’s still a lot of work to go… as these five women admit issues around juggling careers with parenting, equal pay and securing senior positions.

Jennifer Siegel, EP, Framestore Pictures

“I’ve always felt that the industry has wanted to make the change, it’s just the reality of changing that has always been difficult. Women directors are at the forefront these days with Free The Bid, the 3% Conference and the 50/50 Initiative to name a few. But we do need these to make this ‘trend’ stick.

As a production executive, I’ve never felt held back by my gender. Many of my peers have become company owners and EPs… but with titles needs to come equal pay. There is still the stigma of the man as the ‘breadwinner for the home’ that hovers above us and some women have a hard time demanding their own financial value. I’ve been in awe of companies like Audi and Pereira O’Dell who were bold enough to share those conflicts in a Super Bowl TV spot. Maybe if we see how ridiculous we look when we are just asking for what we deserve, we will change. I certainly hope I am educating the young women I encounter to do just that.”

Zarina Mak, Managing Partner, PS260

“I don’t think enough is being done to promote gender equality in our industry as a whole; if it were, we would not be discussing it now. When we don’t see women as our superiors, our equals, making the same amount of money, etc., we will not know to mirror it or to strive for it. That is why in our little corner [at PS260] we are all equal and always trying to change the ratio.”

Rania Robinson, MD, Quiet Storm & Co-Chair of Diversity on MAA Board

“In my experience, the biggest barrier to gender equality is related to unconscious, false assumptions in an industry still dominated by men at a senior level – in particular that women won’t prioritise work once they become mothers. Women should be free to make choices and if they do decide to become mothers be supported by systems in their workplace that enable them to continue to deliver great work and become industry leaders, if they have the drive and ability to do so, while having a rewarding family life. I had to go freelance when I had my first child because I could see no other option to control my working life around that of my family.
That’s why I’m really excited to join the MAA board and co-chair on diversity, equality and inclusion – it’s the perfect opportunity to offer guidance on legislation and initiatives that not only support working mums and women with equal opportunities and pay but also encourages members to cultivate a diverse workforce in which employees can thrive.”

Camille Geier, EP, Click 3X

“I think gender inequality started years ago with the notion that because many women also take care of their children and home, they are therefore unable to work as hard as men. Because of this, many women have “guilty mom” syndrome and thus work even harder to overcome this negative stereotype. Having technology at our fingertips that allows us to work anytime, anywhere only reinforces our ability to juggle and take on even more. As more women gain positions of power and authority, and have walked this walk themselves, they are able to rise and strip away this false narrative, allowing women to be seen in a different light. While we still have a long way to go, I do see steps being made towards equality and female empowerment, but as an industry we need to continue pushing legislation for all women’s rights.”

Kellan Anderson, EP & Partner, Harbor Picture Company

“Our industry could and should be doing so much more to combat long-existing biases and eliminate unfair hurdles to success for female artists. While there are more women in leadership positions today than in years past, the bar is still set higher for women than men in many ways; they have to do more to prove themselves to get the same opportunities. We need to raise greater awareness of the inequity that still exists, be brave enough to raise our hands when we witness it ourselves, and get in the habit of lifting each other up, promoting those deserving and championing the ambitious women we see around us. And when we find ourselves in a situation where only male directors are being considered, we should all be raising our hands and saying “what’s going on here?” I am very hopeful that significant change can and will come when these scenarios are illuminated and denormalized.”