By Sarah Foss, AWM Board Chair
Wow. A sea of LBDs, powerful speeches, and amazing honorees. The Golden Globes will forever be seen as an inflection point. That one show reflected an awakening across the media industry—and now the corporate landscape. Whether we call it a “movement” or a “reckoning,” we are finally publically addressing the reality of gender inequality in the workplace: pay inequality, sexual harassment, and retaliation. What was once taboo is now a real discussion in boardrooms. No longer are we accepting “that’s the way it’s always been” or “it’s part of the culture” or “don’t say anything…or you’ll regret it.”
As a woman who has been in media technology for more than 25 years. I’ve seen it all. Like so many of my contemporaries and peers, we have entertaining, unbelievable, and horrific stories from our careers. IOW, #metoo.
Thankfully, I found a positive outlet to drive change a decade ago when I joined the board of the Alliance for Women in Media. This organization has been recognizing amazing women breaking ceilings, instigating change, and shifting perceptions across the media landscape for more than 60 years. The founders—prominent women media professionals in the 1950s—knew they needed to create an organization to amplify our voice. And, it’s been a powerful one.
The Gracies, an industry award program recognizing amazing content and talent by, for and about women, is in its 43rd year. Many of the Golden Globe honorees are also Gracies honorees; it’s truly a Who’s Who of trailblazers and rebels—a sisterhood of change agents that knew media had the opportunity to move societal progress forward.
Each year, as a Gracies Judge, I’ve been able to play my part in supporting the women and men who brought these stories to listeners and viewers. Winning a Gracie has helped these story tellers and content creators hear loud and clear—“This matters! Your voice is making a difference!” It’s propelled careers and given us a way to shout “Atta Girl!” for each other when our industry didn’t.
Is this “movement” or “reckoning” important? Absolutely. Is it urgent and long-overdue? Absofreakin’lutely. We as an industry have a responsibility—an obligation—to leverage our media platforms to drive progress. This is why, more than ever, The Gracies are relevant. So—here’s my ask: let’s make this Gracies a celebration of all the amazing work that women and men are doing to counterbalance the inequality and negativity. How?
1) Reach out to urge media storytellers to get involved—and submit amazing content for consideration.
2) Apply to be a Gracies judge. (Trust me – you will remember why you joined this field after participating!)
3) Join AWM to bring your voice into the organization.
4) Come to the Gracies and see for yourself. There is power and R-E-S-P-E-C-T throughout our industry.
I am grateful to the many fantastic women—and committed men—for making my career fun and fulfilling. I am humbled to be associated with the most amazing leaders on the AWM Board. And though I can say #metoo, I am damned proud to be a woman executive in media.
And yes. I’ll be wearing my LBD this coming June at The Gracies 2018. I hope to see you there.