In Her Words: On The Basis of Sex, RBG And Pushing for Equality in 2019
How can each of us be leaders for change in the workplace today?
The movie, On the Basis of Sex, which profiles the personal and professional journey of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, encourages all to think about the consequences of his or her actions in creating a ripple effect for equality. RBG, played by Felicity Jones, is a modern-day superhero who illustrates that one woman can make a difference.
The movie, paced with moments of both drama and laughter, mimics the tumultuous journey that RBG pursued—and in doing so, reminds us in 2019 that people should be treated as equals before the law, regardless of sex. And we’re still fighting the fight. For example, Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers recently re-introduced the Pay Check Fairness Act. This act would help close the gender wage gap, and it’s still not national law. We need to keep pushing for progress.
Although brave women such as RBG helped pave the way for where we are today, we still have a long way to go. Women should take notes from Ginsberg’s story, and partner with male counterparts to work towards equality. Her relationship with her husband, played by Armie Hammer, shows how channeling the power of collaboration in pursuing equal rights can have an even greater impact, and emphasizes the need for a supportive relationship between men and women.
In the late 50s, a time when women couldn’t open their own bank accounts, it was not the norm for men to be encouraging of their wives’ careers. Mr. Ginsberg tirelessly pushed for progress alongside his wife and daughter to strive for more representation. By working together, he and his wife helped change the laws of equality as we know them today. Diversity and teamwork among men and women, and also across generations, is key for making real impact.
On the Basis of Sex uses powerful storytelling to illustrate how men can amplify the women in their lives, and vice versa—and reminds us that we are stronger together.
Media creates culture, and sharing stories is an important tool for creating change in 2019. We should applaud people who are making an impact by pushing for equal representation in Hollywood, such as Regina King. King, an award-winning actress and producer, made a promise on stage at the Golden Globes to ensure 50/50 gender parity across all King-produced movies in the next two years. She boldly challenged other stars to take on the “challenge” as well.
One could argue that it’s not just King’s decision to personally take action steps to advance equality that makes her a change agent, but also that she pushes her peers to also hold themselves personally accountable with her challenge to include more female directors in order to change the status quo in Hollywood. This is because we need equal representation both in front of and behind the camera in order to ensure our stories are accurately being told.
The key message of the story is that we’re all personally responsible for advancing equality—and we’re stronger together. We must encourage collaboration and empowerment among the sexes. Men and women are the best partnership, and by working hand in hand, women like Regina King and Ruth Bader Ginsberg prove that a team of men and women is always the best way to forge new roads.
Liv Schreiber is a strategy and branding consultant whose clients include Parsons x, Teen Vogue, APM Models, Kamps Fit and more. She graduated from the School of Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is based in New York City.