There has been a clear pattern in how females are continually being portrayed as sidekicks, support roles, damsels in distress in Hollywood and there are many amazing female role models and female film producers such as Reese Witherspoon, who are trying to change this portrayal of women in the industry and are doing an amazing job.
Today in The Guardian, Steve Rose wrote an excellent article on ‘Why can’t Hollywood accept gender equality?’. To give you some background, here’s a quick snippet…
‘’ It has been a good year for women in cinema in many ways, with a high count of quality female-made and female-led movies…But by some metrics, there’s still a way to go. In particular, the Smurfette Principle. The phrase was coined back in 1991 by US writer Katha Pollitt, who bemoaned the number of films and TV programmes that featured a group with one lone female. “The message is clear,” she wrote, “… boys are central, girls peripheral.” ‘’
But it isn’t just in Hollywood where this issue is prevalent. We’re already aware from all the press and awareness campaigns of late, regarding the gender pay gap where women are paid 18% less, but what’s even more concerning is that in 2012, HMRC reported that women were earning 40% less than men. This is concerning because as much as the employment world has a responsibility to stand for equality, it’s clear from these figures that a large proportion of women are not taking responsibility for their own equality.
On Wednesday of last week, I was a featured speaker at the Maximise Conference in Cheltenham where I’m proud to have won Speaker of the Year for the second year in a row. My talk was aimed at female experts in business to help them remove the label of ‘small business’ and the limits that we impose on ourselves to stand up and own our expertise, earn our worth and achieve business growth.
Each and every woman has a responsibility to work on her own mindset in standing shoulder to shoulder with male and female leaders in their field. As women, we can underrate ourselves, not necessarily against men, but just in general. Lack of confidence has a huge impact on not only the bar we set for ourselves but also in the ability to form trusted relationships with our prospective clients. If we want others to take us seriously and be recognised as valuable, then we must first take ourselves seriously and understand our own value.
The patterns of inequality and how women are portrayed that are reflected in places like Hollywood, the workplace and in the entrepreneurial world will only change when more female individuals own their value. It’s my mission to lead a movement where women own their worth, their expertise and value. Not as a feminist or even as an equal rights activist, but as a woman who believes in her own value. This isn’t about men vs women, this is about individuals standing and owning their expert status and their value regardless of gender. You’re either valuable or you’re not, it has nothing to do with gender.
It’s about time we started to follow suit of strong, highly valued female experts and thought leaders like Mel Robbins, Sheryl Sandberg, Shaa Wasmund and Oprah who know and fully own their worth. It’s time we stood strong as THE expert in our field, instead of under the radar. It’s a change that starts with each and every female and male. Let’s take responsibility for this reflective issue and be the change we wish to see in the world.
So rather than being a Smurfette – a second-hand side-kick, let’s stand shoulder to shoulder as great leaders in our industry.
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