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Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
There are two quiet conversations going around in Hollywood right now. One is that it is impossible to do your job anymore if you’re a guy. You don’t know where the lines are. You can’t look sideways at anybody without HR rapping your knuckles. You can’t hire an attractive woman, God forbid, someone will accuse you of hitting on her. You can’t touch. You can’t hug. The business is just no fun anymore.
The other sotto voce conversation is that the industry hasn’t changed enough — or at all. That Les Moonves staying in the CBS top job while under investigation is a sign that #MeToo has run out of gas, or isn’t serious. That despite the lip service, women are still few and far between in leading roles and executive suites. It’s all a sham.
Both of these are wrong.
Here’s the thing. The entertainment and media industries have been through convulsive change in the past 10 months. It’s been painful. For some it’s been life-changing — and not always in a good way. But for most of us, #MeToo has broken through a wall of silence and shame to reveal a new path.
And we’re not going back. Plenty of companies are taking seriously the idea that women need a space that’s safe to talk about the issues holding them back from rising in their careers. NBCUniversal is one of those places, putting veteran Cara Stein in a position to candidly assess what the workplace is like for their women employees. AMC Networks just did the same by appointing Jen Caserta to the role of chief transformation officer. And Fox has a significant initiative to engage its female employees with MyKhanh Shelton, who heads global inclusion at the company.
We are proud to be working with all these deeply thoughtful women and many others to build the Power Women Summit on November 1-2. The goal is to celebrate the progress, to amplify the wins, to learn the lessons and absorb the best tactics as we aim for 50-50 gender equity in our business and beyond. (More info here.)
We need the men of good will by our sides to make this happen. We invite them to join us along with hundreds of women eager for models of positive change.
No one should be surprised that it’s not a linear path to success. Change is hard. It’s really hard. And while some men may complain that the pendulum has swung too far, we women can remind them that it will be OK. We can have fun at work. We can do this, together. Let us all stay open enough to reach out and offer a hand in partnership.