Half and Half is Best: 50/50 Day, Take The Lead Aim For Global Gender Equity
“How do you think the world would change if there was more gender balance in politics? What about more gender balance in business leadership? Or in homes?”
These are proposed questions for 19-99 year-olds participating in the discussion guide materials for “50/50 Day,” the brainchild of Tiffany Shlain, Emmy-award-winning filmmaker and visionary co-founder of Let It Ripple Film Studio.
Partnering with Take The Lead, Makers, Facebook, Refinery 29, Women’s Funding Network, the Geena Davis Institute, Intel and other organizations, Shlain’s 50/50 global initiative May 10 intends to not only raise questions but come to solutions.
With 9,000 events around the world, including scores hosted by Take The Lead’s Leadership Ambassadors, 50/50 Day centers on Shalin’s 20-minute mini-documentary, “50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present and Future of Women + Power.”
Corporate, university, public and private events will highlight film screenings and discussions. Several Take The Lead Leadership Ambassadors are organizing events in California, Arizona and Massachusetts. British Airways is showing the film—that premiered live at TEDWomen, at 275 TEDx’s globally, and on Refinery29 and has been translated into Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi and Portuguese—on all of its flights in May.
50/50 provides the historical context to the need for gender equity in leadership across all sectors, which is Take The Lead’s mission to accomplish by 2025. With 50/50 events in 44 states and 51 countries, the wish is to not only explore the questions, but also to come up with solutions, a mission aligning with Take The Lead’s programs and goals that focus on women to prepare, develop, inspire and propel towards leadership goals.
“We need to both feel the strength of all that we have achieved, and double down on our efforts of what needs to happen to truly get to a more gender balanced world,” Shlain told Yahoo! “We provide the film, the discussion kits and link all the screenings together with a global Q&A online that provides an exciting framework for the day.”
On May 10, a 24-hour global livecast Q&A unifies all the film screenings and features prominent leaders from diverse perspectives discussing how to get to a more gender-balanced world in all sectors of society: business, politics, culture, society, and home. Gloria Feldt, Take The Lead co-founder and president, will be talking with Shlain at 10:00 a.m. ET May 10. You can watch it all live on this page or on Facebook.Check out the livestreams from panels at 50/50 Day events around the world; and live coverage from the thousands of events, art installations, and more. See all the speakers here.
Around the country, public events include a screening and panel of speakers at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. In San Francisco, Lucasfilm Theater is hosting a screening, while other events are also planned in London, Stockholm, Tornoto, Sale Lake City, New York, Detroit and Los Angeles.
Discussion guides for the events include 44 conversation cards and 25 discussion issues that range from the economy—including pay equity, business leadership and poverty—to politics, including issues of political leadership as well as culture and media representations.
“I think women need to come together more. We saw the power of that with the Women’s March in January. There is tremendous power when we all join forces,” Shlain told Indian Women.
Named by Newsweek as “one of the women shaping the 21st Century,” Shlain has shaped 50/50 Day as a filmmaker and influencer across digital and technology landscapes. She has “premiered four films at Sundance, including her acclaimed feature documentary Connected: An Autobiography about Love, Death & Technology, which The New York Times hailed as “high-tech Terry Gilliam,” and “Examining Everything From the Big Bang to Twitter,” according to Let It Ripple.
The evening of May 10, at 6:30 p.m. ET, Feldt and Shlain will be in conversation on the shared goal of gender equity for the monthly Take The Lead Virtual Happy Hour, “Making Leadership Parity by 2025 a Reality.”
Following the interview will be a panel with Take The Lead Leadership Ambassadors Lori Chillingworth, Credit Administrator of Small Business for Zions Bancorporation; Yesi Murillo-Gual, founder of Proud to Be Latina and senior finance executive; and Amber Nelson, Leadership Ambassador Program Director at Take The Lead and head of Lingo Consulting, Inc., a marketing, communications and research firm. They will discuss what tools they find most effective and discuss what trends in leadership development programs move the dial to gender equity.
Orchestrating a global event to shed light on the need for gender equity seems would be an enormous task for anyone, but Shlain makes everything she does seems easy. And everything she does seems to make sense.
“Recently, it’s been easy to feel there are forces conspiring to drag the women’s movement backwards,” she writes in LinkedIn. In moments like these, backwards is a good place to look, to gain some perspective.”
She adds, “We need to see where we really are on the arc of history, feel the momentum of that past, and then swiftly turn our gaze to the future, so we never stop envisioning the world we want to see and what it’s going to take to get there. The world I want to see is 50/50: a more gender-balanced world. And not just in politics and board rooms, truly shifting the gender balance to be better for everyone.”
About the Author
Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon www.micheleweldon.com