In the United States of America, WOMEN ARE NOT GUARANTEED EQUAL RIGHTS by the Constitution.
Every day there are discriminatory injustices committed against women. Many people are under the illusion that our open-minded, emancipated, advanced society has already granted women equal protection under the law. But that is NOT TRUE!
The ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), dating back to 1923, which grants Equal Rights to Women in America, isn’t an Amendment to the Constitution yet because, though it passed in 35 States in the 70’s, it has never passed in the 38 States required for the Amendment to be ratified.
And even though the Amendment has been presented to Congress every year and never passed, it has disappeared from the consciousness of America, and much of the younger generation doesn’t even know that this rights don’t exist.
And even as we speak, the women’s rights that do exist are being carved away every day all over America.
The position of WOMEN in the ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY reflects women’s lack of constitutionally guaranteed Equal Rights in this country. Our fight is a common FIGHT with the rest of AMERICAN WOMEN.
Women must be EQUAL to MEN under the law. This is the FOUNDATION of any truly civilized democratic society.
TITLE VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was intended to eliminate work place DISCRIMINATION based on gender, race, color, national origin and religion. Disgracefully this act is violated on a regular basis and the Entertainment Industry is one of the worst offenders.
Recent studies reveal that studios, producers and show runners vastly under-hire women, and in some categories, such as writing and directing, barely hire women at all.
In some cases, such as in the DGA (Directors Guild of America), DIVERSITY and MINORITY programs have been created to counter discriminatory practices against minorities and other disenfranchised people, and to fill the quotas that TITLE VII requires. But such programs pool ALL WOMEN together with MINORITY MEN (men of color, and Latino and Asian men). The DGA presses Studios and Producers to fill their quota from that pool. The problem is, as studies reveal, that the most hired group is still men! In this case specifically men of color. So by hiring men of color, the quota is met and women directors get left out again. And women of color are the most penalized of all!
We don’t want to be HIRED to fill a QUOTA – WE WANT to be hired for our TALENT, SKILLS and UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE. And most of all because it’s RIGHT!
First of all, who are we “DIVERSE” from? WHITE MEN, who dominate the entertainment industry and don’t want to share the power or the profits. We may have diverse voices from men, but we don’t belong in the Diversity category!
Second, WE are, in fact, NOT a MINORITY. We are over 51% of the population. But even though WE are the MAJORITY, we have been systematically excluded from POWER. This has to STOP!
WE NEED TO ELEVATE OURSELVES TO THE POWERFUL POSITION WE REPRESENT! THE MAJORITY!
We must stop talking about DIVERSITY when we talk about WOMEN. First, WOMEN in the FILM industry should be hired on a 50/50 basis. Then additionally WOC, Latinas, Asians and First Nation women should receive quota consideration. In this way, Women – of all races – will have far more opportunities to be present with their craft, talent and creativity in the Industry.
INCLUSION is what we are fighting for. It’s the opposite of EXCLUSION.
Diversity is CODE for not WHITE MEN. Women are NOT “DIVERSE”, and NOT a MINORITY. We don’t belong in the MINORITY category. WOMEN are more then 51% of the population and we are a vital part of the industry. WE are an economic FORCE. WE buy tickets, we choose the movies to watch, we consume programs and TV Shows and buy and use digital content. We are valuable consumers and customers. We could, if we are not allow to participate in producing, creating, writing and directing those same products that we consume, make the drastic decision to stop buying movie tickets and stop watching TV shows and digital content. It would be not only fair but shrewd for the industry to open their arm to our talents, skills and knowledge. Women’s films MAKE MONEY. And the Industry knows it. It’s just a matter of POWER and they don’t want to lose it.
2015 was a SPECIAL year for WOMEN. Awareness of discrimination against women flourished and many WOMEN in the Industry bravely spoke OUT about their experiences with GENDER BIAS.
In May of 2015 the ACLU called for investigations into discrimination against women directors. In October of 2015 the EEOC opened a federal investigation of Hollywood’s hiring practices.
Actresses, journalists, institutes, foundations, associations and organizations of women in films, bloggers and individuals, including a large number of men, have embraced the cause and are speaking out.
This is our time.
NOW it’s UP to all of US to STAND UP for WOMEN’S RIGHTS, to stick together and FIGHT for what is JUST. From passing the ERA to women’s right to be hired and treated EQUALLY and FAIRLY, in the movie industry and in every aspect of our lives! It’s all connected. The well-being of ALL of US is based on the well-being of EACH of US!
Let’s DO it! Together!
It’s 2016! It’s about time!
by Ivana Massetti – Founder of Women Occupy Hollywood