I work in the commercial animation industry where, like the rest of TV and film, there is a major, inexcusable, and definitely not accidental gap when it comes to gender and creative leadership. Even now in 2015, when official policies state otherwise.
As someone who directs and plans to direct more and bigger, I’m personally offended – like a punch to the gut – when I go from studio to studio and see 100% men doing what I was made to do.
It’s a clear message to me that says, “You’re not allowed”.
Dear women in business,
Here is something I’ve been learning:
Now is the time.
Now it’s about time.
We need to show up at the door of the places we want to be and we need to stop asking permission to be there.
The men don’t ask permission. They assume it’s their right to be where they want to be. Let’s adopt that sense of privilege. There is no reason we shouldn’t.
I know for your whole career there has been some room you’ve been told you’re not allowed to enter.
You’re told this by having witnessed that no matter how qualified you are, only men get that job. Year after year, decade after decade.
I understand that after so long of being passed over, you eventually give up trying. The fight can become so tiring that it stops being worth it.
I’m telling you now that the winds are changing. The old boys are dying out and the “no girls allowed” clubs are no longer appropriate.
But official policies aren’t good enough anymore. They’re completely empty without action.
We need to start be bosses – we need to assume we can. And once we are bosses we need to hire each other as much as we hire men.
We can be our own worst enemies. And it’s not acceptable.
We will never make real, practical change unless we show up without apology, stop asking permission to be there, and work together as stepping stones for each other, toward real opportunities.
Most of us don’t show up for those opportunities, because we think we need to be the best before we even try. After all, if you become the first female boss in what you do, you’ll bee seen as an ambassador for all women. If you stink, we all stink, right?
Well, look around! There are all varieties of men who stink at their job and they don’t reflect on all mankind. They only reflect on themselves.
Their bar isn’t set nearly as high as the one we set for ourselves.
Half of them BS their way into the job and then fumble their way through it until they get good.
So, just go! Take one step forward with confidence. Learn. Compare merit to merit and that is all.
When anyone (men and women) tell you you’re being too bossy or too outspoken or forward, you make that your background music as you pass them by on your walk to success.
When they tell you you’re being paranoid, because this prejudice doesn’t exist, you pity them for the tiny bubble they live in and the small world view they have.
Now be good at what you do, represent yourself, and keep showing up at that door.
We are 50% of the human population and we are qualified.
photo by lightmonkey.ca