What is it like for women attempting to break into the media industry? How often is it that there is only one woman in a room full of men? Until the people who are in power diversify, women’s voices will not be heard.
Founder and CEO of Girlgaze Amanda de Cadenet and deputy editor of the Grio Natasha Alford sat with the president of Wieden+Kennedy, Colleen DeCourcy to discuss closing the gender gap in a male-dominated industry. In the panel, de Cadenet and Alford examined the current market that was rooted in sexist and racist unequal opportunities for women by using their own struggles as examples. The panel highlighted the #metoo and #timesup movements and discussed how we could move forward as a society if there were equal representations of women’s point of view in media.
The women started the panel by discussing how little women’s voices were heard.
Alford told the audience about how she only saw on representation of Latinas growing up. As an Afro-Latina, she never saw herself in those representations of lighter-skinned Latinas. In fact, Afro-Latinas were largely ignored until a few years back, when their stories started popping up more. More representation in the media meant more Afro-Latinas were able to have a voice.
De Cadenet grew up watching men dominate newsrooms. She knew from a young age that there was a terrible representation of women in the media, and when she began working as an interviewer at a live TV show, she became the poster child for young women working in TV. She was very alone and learned how important it was to have other voices in the room.
“It is not an honor to be the only woman. I always say ‘that’s fine, that’s great you want me to do something. Can I bring these eight other women with me?’”
Through their careers, those two women dealt with criticism from all angles, but they never let it deter their determination to get diverse perspectives. It is what motivated de Cadenet to found Girlgaze, a platform built for women by women that connects them to job opportunities. The organization highlights how different women see the world.
De Cadenet and Alford then gave words of advice to the audience: To learn as many skills as possible because the more skills you learn the more marketable you are. They also said to not be afraid of what makes you special, but instead, embrace them. Experience made De Cadenet able to talk to others and said it was how she was able to get as far as she had.
The Girl Gaze panel speakers gave the audience an inside look on how to get women from diverse backgrounds and experiences the media attention they deserve.
“If you give a woman a platform, she will have something to say, she will need very little back form you in return and you can get a lot out of it,” DeCourcy said.