Why do we Fear Speaking out?

Posted by Rena Sternfeld on January 29, 2013 in The search |

Written by my friend Maria Giese



Sometimes I worry that female and minority UPM’s and AD’s are as fearful of speaking out as we directors– or even more so. Consider the tremendous resistance we under-employed women directors confront from our highly-employed women colleagues in our guild.

It is counter to the interests of employed DGA women directors to speak out on the problems of gender discrimination in the guild and in our industry. This is so for several reasons: it’s a slim slice of the pie to share with other women (a job for another woman might be a job taken from them), they don’t want to be seen as being “difficult” or negative” within the guild, and they guard their coveted position of power shared with male DGA directors.

So, for an under-employed female UPM or A.D. who must hope to be tapped by a director for her next job– surely she will not want to stand out as a liability. For example, there are several A.D.’s who are participating on the new “By-laws Subcommittee” and, unfortunately, some of them are siding with highly-employed directors on by-laws that will result in ultimate disadvantage for themselves and their fellow UPM’s and A.D.’s. However, it appears that they are willing to put their individual concerns about being hired by their director colleagues ahead of important principles of justice and equality.

The way to solve this problem to by convincing our DGA leaders (both membership and executive staff) of the many, many ways they will benefit by coming through this all having been torch-bearers of the issue of gender equality in our industry. The DGA is now faced with an extraordinary opportunity to be viewed from an historic perspective as having helped drive the wave of employment equality.

Or– in some years from now, they must look back with shame that they stood to the side and did nothing– or worse, marginalized and “blacklisted” their best, bravest, most outspoken members in an effort that was on the side of what is right and good and just– and was inevitable in any case.

So, SPEAK OUT! It may feel risky at first, but those who do so now will end up with the benefits of the legacy of having been on the correct side of this important ethical change in our guild and in our industry and in our nation’s history.

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