Are women taking back Hollywood?

January was a pretty good month, in more ways than one.

Let’s celebrate some victories and "firsts":

  • Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to be awarded the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes.
  • Rachel Morrison became the first woman to be nominated for an Oscar for best cinematography for her work in Mudbound.
  • Meryl Streep just broke her own record for most Oscar nominations of any actor. She has been nominated 21 times!
  • Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman to be nominated for an Oscar for best director for her work in Lady Bird.

Hopefully, even more women will break barriers both in front of and behind the camera this year.

In addition to the accomplishments of these four inspirational women, the Producers Guild of America has taken a step toward preventing sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the PGA issued new “Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines,” which offer concrete ideas about creating a harassment-free workplace both on and off set. Fittingly, the first film which has adopted the guidelines is Wonder Woman 2. The guidelines define various forms of sexual harassment and also address common misconceptions about the terminology.  They also recommend that the following protocols be followed during production:

  • Provide in-person anti-sexual harassment training for the cast and crew before the start of production;
  • Add sexual harassment to the daily safety briefing;
  • Offer multiple options for reporting procedures;
  • Respond promptly and with empathy to any complaints;
  • Be alert to any attempts at retaliation; and
  • Be sensitive to interpersonal power dynamics and how casual statements could carry implicit authority.

Will the guidelines stem the tide of sexual harassment in Hollywood? Only time will tell, but many of these guidelines are things we employment lawyers would regularly recommend to our clients, so it seems like a good start. And Wonder Woman herself has told would-be harassers that “your wrath upon this world is over,” so there is certainly reason for optimism. 

Image Credit: From flickr, Creative Commons license, by Disney/ABC Television Group.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion has been the bedrock of our firm since we opened over 75 years ago. As we like to say, it is in our DNA. We believe that to foster diverse leadership and urge diversity of thought, we must do what we can to advance the conversation about diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging in the workplace and the communities in which our workplaces thrive. Through our blog, we share our insights from the perspective of both an employer and employee, regarding emerging issues that affect diverse leaders and workforces. We hope you enjoy our tidbits of legal and practical information, wisdom, and humor. Thanks for joining the conversation!


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