The Latest

In 2019 Regina King Challenges You, To Challenge Yourself

Resolutions big and small, how about making a gender equality pledge of your own?

By Jamila Rizvi

The Latest

Resolutions big and small, how about making a gender equality pledge of your own?

By Jamila Rizvi

Love it or loathe it, you can’t help but have noticed that it’s Hollywood awards season. Two months of incredible outfits, over-the-top spray tans, red carpets, polite applause and tiny statuettes awaits. The whole shebang kicked off on Monday night with the Golden Globes, celebrating the best of film and television.

Now, I’m no awards night wowser. I love a fabulous frock (or perfectly tailored pair of cigarette pants, here’s looking at you Julia Roberts) as much as the next woman. Let she who doesn’t click through at least 50 pictures in a gallery of gorgeous gowns cast the first stone. However, I do enjoy a little substance in amongst all that glitz and glamour. And last night, that substance came in the form of actress Regina King.

King won the Best Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture award for her turn in ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’. Her acceptance speech began by following the usual format of thank you’s, before she went off on a powerful tangent. Unfortunately, King did so just at the standard ‘get off the stage, already’ music began playing. Her words were nonetheless important and deserve to be heard. In case you missed it, here’s what King had to say:

“I’m going to use my platform right now to say in the next two years everything that I produce I am making a vow — and it’s going to be tough — to make sure that everything that I produce — that is 50 per cent women. And I just challenge anyone out there — anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries, I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity and do the same.”

It’s still early enough in the year to be making resolutions and King’s challenge got me thinking. Instead of making the usual promises of losing weight, getting fit, reading more books or quitting smoking, why not make a resolution to progress gender equity? (You should also bin the cigarettes and read, the world can’t have enough books or too few smokes).

 

“I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity and do the same.”

 

What I mean by a gender equity resolution, is this: What are the practical steps you will take this year to help build a more equal world? In making your resolution, don’t be vague, don’t be trite and if at all possible, try and avoid the clichés. Like all goals that are worth having, this resolution should be both specific and measurable.

Regina King hasn’t just said she’ll support her sisters in Hollywood. Rather, she’s promised that in every film she produces – in every project where she has power and influence – women will be at least 50 per cent of the contributors. There are clear parameters here that means King will know if she has failed; if she doesn’t meet the challenge laid down for herself.

We can all do better when it comes to gender equality, not just for ourselves but for women as a collective. Perhaps you will make sure that at least five of your pro bono clients in 2019 will be women of colour. Maybe you’ll identify two younger women who would benefit from your mentorship. Can you donate a percentage of your salary to causes that support women with disabilities to find secure employment? Or can you give up your time to attend important demonstrations for women’s rights.

Make 2019 your year and also, the year that women everywhere get a helping hand from one another. Use your power to give a boost to the women around you and then stand back to watch the whole world reap the rewards of your hard work.