#50WomenCan: Changing the Power Paradigm in Hollywood

The room was electric at NeueHouse Hollywood in Los Angeles, in what was formerly the CBS Studio Headquarters. The revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s allegations had recently made headlines. Women were speaking out.

And on this evening, industry influencers, including studio executives, producers, directors, writers, actors and other creatives packed the room to hear about a program that could change the odds of power in Hollywood.

The Power Salon, hosted by Leadership Ambassadors Tabby Biddle and Elisa Parker, was created to introduce the core ideas and mission of Take The Lead and launch a new initiative 50 Women Can Change The World in Media & Entertainment.

Women in Hollywood face steep odds according to the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film, in 2016-17,  of the top 250 films, only 7 percent of the directors are women. Women accounted for 13 percent of writers; 17 percent of executive producers; 24 percent producers; 17  percent editors; 5 percent cinematographers; 3 percent composers; 8 percent supervising sound editors; and 4 percent sound designers.

Women in Hollywood face steep odds, #50WomenCan is out to change the dynamics

And for women of color the statistics are even more daunting.

50 Women Can Change The World in Media & Entertainment is a four-month long leadership and movement-building program focused on closing the gender leadership gap in Hollywood. During that time, participants will examine and redefine their relationship with power, learn Take The Lead’s 9 Leadership Power Tools and collectively grow a vibrant network of influential women in the industry to advance their career and create systemic change.

“We believe that by elevating women’s voices in media and entertainment, the scope of change will go beyond the women in the room. It will shape the culture we wish to see. A more nuanced approach to women’s stories from diverse backgrounds will open the door to deeper understanding and a quickened pace to equality for all,” says Sheila Cameron, team member and former HBO producer.

When women account for just 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films, we know that many stories are missing from the cultural narrative.

“Who tells our stories, shapes the culture,” says Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take The Lead at the Los Angeles event to launch #50WomenCan. “And where better to have an impact on the culture than here, in Los Angeles, where so much of our narratives are born. The timing was prescient—but all the controversy about sexual harassment that started with this industry,  shows how urgently we need to address the imbalance between men and women and how it helps all when we make these kinds of systemic changes,” Feldt says.

“We are excited by the reception we’ve gotten so far with the large number of women coming to us to be a part of this game-changing program and look forward to seeing women move those statistics in all areas of this business to 50 percent representation,” says Feldt.

With this initiative, we are looking to build a meaningful mix of women who work in the media and entertainment industry who are committed to gender parity and have exemplified leadership, commitment, professional dedication, and creativity throughout their careers.

#50WomenCan is a catalyst to launch more women into leadership positions and add their voices to the culture.

The nomination process to participate in the #50WomenCan cohort is open through December 10th, 2017. Diversity is important to us. We know women benefit from sharing insight and sisterhood across a spectrum of experience and backgrounds. We encourage nominations and applications from a wide cross-section of women, including race, age, abilities, and expertise.

Have someone in mind? Nominate her now.

“We need stories told by women and supported by women that can show and mirror a better humanity. I feel inspired to be with a group of women who are ready to take on the challenges of this incredibly powerful industry and to create change from the inside out in a way that’s sustainable and that can change the world,” says Kate Neligan, former VP of On Demand & Digital Marketing at Lionsgate, and founder of Synergy TV.

Neligan sits on the #50WomenCan Advisory Committee, a team of nine industry professionals who will help select the finalists for the 50 women cohort.

#50WomenCan is a catalyst to launch more women in leadership in media, entertainment to add their voices to the culture

We are very excited by all of the nominations and applications coming in for the 50 Women cohort. This includes executives from CBS, Netflix, Amazon Studios, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., and Paramount, as well as accomplished directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, editors, actresses, agents, animators, art directors, production company founders and media entrepreneurs.

The engagement in this program goes beyond the 50 women in the room. We have been connecting with other like-minded organizations, studios, networks and individuals to collaborate and form partnerships in order to close the gender gap, including Mount Saint Mary’s University, the only all-women’s college in Los Angeles and fiscal sponsor to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, The Television Academy, and NeueHouse Hollywood

Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson, President of St Mary’ s University, who in 2011 led the creation of the Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California, the first report of its kind to examine gender gaps in the state and provide recommendations, will include 50 Women Can Change the World in Media & Entertainment in the March 2018 annual presentation.

A one-year collaborative research study assessing the impact and efficacy of the 50 Women Can Change the World in Media & Entertainment is in the planning stages.

Apply now for #50WomenCan to be part of leadership in media and entertainment to change the world

The success of the program is based on continued action. We believe that the increased number of women leading in the media and entertainment industry will quicken the pace to gender parity in leadership across all sectors, fulfilling Take The Lead’s mission of supporting women to take their fair and equal leadership by 2025.

“This year what I found is everywhere I turn, groups of women are getting together to figure out how they can address the issues of the day. I haven’t seen this in 30 years of being in corporate America,” says Jyoti Sarda, former executive at Paramount, and champion of this initiative.

“It feels different this year,” says Sarda, who is working on a documentary series about women of color in politics. “What I’ve concluded is that we can really harness our collective power to address whatever issue that we see out there in the world we feel needs changing, and there are so many.”

The nomination deadline for 50 Women Can Change The World in Media & Entertainment is December 10th. From seasoned professionals to buzz-worthy newcomers, studio and network executives, writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, actresses, agents, animators, art directors, production company founders and media entrepreneurs are all encouraged to apply.