Gina Rodriguez, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Other Powerful Women in TV Emphasize Jobs as #TIMESUP’s Next Step
CBS held its first-ever “Eye Speak” summit in L.A. yesterday, which gathered powerful women both in front of and behind the camera at CBS Studios productions for an in-depth discussion about how to empower, inspire and provide opportunities for women in the television industry. The consensus seemed to be that not only do men need to provide women more jobs in the industry, but that women need to emphasize providing them for each other.
Aline Brosh McKenna, co-creator and showrunner for The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, created the popular hashtag #FemaleFilmmakerFriday, because she knows that a large barrier to women getting work is the fact that they don’t “necessarily look like the image you have in your head” when you think of words like “Director” or “Cinematographer” or “Sound Mixer.”
However, she also says that this movement we’re experiencing now in entertainment goes far beyond hashtags. “There’s so much solidarity in being together but we need to offer each other economic opportunities,” she explains. “Hashtags, tweeting, that’s all great, but jobs — that’s what we need. You have to hire women and promote women and let them fail and protect them. I wish more women had done that for me and I’m very determined to do that for more women.”
For Jane the Virgin‘s Gina Rodriguez, a huge barrier to women’s empowerment and employment in the industry is the feeling ingrained in them that there are only a limited number of “women’s slots” in Hollywood and we need to fight for “the one seat at the table,” which forces driven women to compete with each other, rather than help each other.
“[What] happens,” Rodriguez says. “Is that you, instinctually, push the people aside because that one seat is important to you — that one seat is everything you have, everything you’ve been fighting for. That is a cultural norm that we should erase.”
For Star Trek: Discovery‘s Sonequa Martin-Green, it all starts with what women are willing to accept and not accept in their work and their work lives. She calls the watershed moment we’ve been experiencing the “breaking of ground,” saying that in order for any hole to be dug, any tunnel to be built, the first step is to push a shovel into the ground to break it.
Now, however, “we actually have to dig — we have to do our own work in our lives, we have to reject standards in our lives, we have to pull out our own tables, we have to understand that our culture is valuable.”
The “Eye Speak” was presented by CBS in partnership with the Association of National Advertisers’ #SeeHer campaign, which strives to see an accurate portrayal of women in the media by 2020. A huge part of that mission is ensuring that representation professionally and otherwise is intersectional.
Martin-Green emphasizes that it’s not about cultures blending to the point of everyone’s assimilation, but rather, “Your culture meshes with mine and mine meshes with yours, but you don’t take from mine and I don’t take from yours. We live together, embracing each other’s culture, and being expanded by it. That’s the way it should be.”
The time for talking is over. It’s time for action. Thankfully these women, have already been putting their money where their mouths are in the career choices they’ve made for themselves, and in the opportunities they offer others. Now, it’s time for everyone else to follow.
(via Variety, image: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images)
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