By Caveni Wong, Founder and Principal
On the evening of International Women’s Day, my husband and I watched Thor: Ragnarok. I was quickly dismayed when an early scene showed two young women screaming and running after the severed head of a monster splattered them with green goo.
“It’s going to be another movie where women’s roles are relegated to screams and gruesome deaths,” I thought with resignation.
I was wrong. Soon, the movie’s chief villain appeared, played by the indomitable Cate Blanchett, whose deliciously evil role desired nothing less than ruling the world by terror. Thor, powerful that he was, was saved by an alcoholic but skillful warrior played by Tessa Thompson.
These casting decisions were significant in several ways: that women could be cast in a superhero movie as tough fighters with significant screen time and ambitions, that they could be flawed and even villainous, and that they could be over 25 years of age.
The next night, we saw Black Panther – a blockbuster with a predominately black cast that shattered all kinds of box-office records and that serves as further irrefutable evidence that diversity sells, as reported by Forbes. Just as encouraging were the substantial roles that women played, from the loyal general and her fearless fighters to the tech-savvy sister and the courageous love interest.
A culture of equality cannot be achieved overnight. But given the power that Hollywood wields in shaping our culture, I’m encouraged that it is nudging our culture in the right direction.
Which made my earlier experience on International Women’s Day a bit more palatable.
I had attended a conference for women entrepreneurs where several men were also in attendance. During a session in which recruiting was discussed, a man commented:
“Before I hire someone, I want to meet their wives. I ask the wives if they like to shop. If the wives say ‘yes,’ I’d know that they would want to make a lot of money and they’d be good hires.”
There were so many things wrong with that statement – at a women’s conference no less – that I won’t go into here. But I was comforted to know that others at my table were similarly aghast.
I sincerely hope that with the work that we do as ethics and compliance professionals, along with HR, and a bit of razzle-dazzle from Hollywood, comments like this would be the last of its kind. Share this post with others if you agree.
Principle Compliance can help companies bridge the gap between stated values and reality. Contact me if you’d like to start a discussion.