What do Hollywood, the US congress, business, and banking have in common?
The Dealers of Entertainment, the Architects of National Policy, the Job Creators, and the Money Managers. These industry and culture shaping positions demand diversified, representative control. Except there isn’t.
Right-sizing representation isn’t about deciding how to better slice a pie. It’s the commitment to eliminate blind spots in the decision-making bodies that shape the inclusivity of our culture and our economy for all Americans.
To think about it as slicing pie is a blind spot in of itself.
The Underrepresentation of Women
One of every two people in the US is a woman.
One woman owns a business for every three men who own businesses.
One woman speaks in top Hollywood films for every four men who speak.
One woman holds a seat in Congress for every five males who hold seats.
One woman is CEO of a Fortune 500 company for every 17 men who are Fortune 500 CEOs.
One woman owns a bank for every 372 males who own a bank.
The Underrepresentation of People of Color
Two of every five people in the US are people of color.
Two people of color own a business for every six white people who a own business.
Two people of color speak in top Hollywood films for every six white people who speak.
Two people of color hold seats in Congress for every ten white people who hold seats.
Two people of color own or govern a bank for every 67 white people who own or govern a bank.
Currencies of Power
Those in power can choose to step forward to address historical and systemic patterns of inequities that are neither arbitrary nor benign, but the result of bias within systems.
Meanwhile, those who may not recognize themselves as powerful can -- and must -- step forward and intentionally act to undo learned patterns that unintentionally preserve inequities within systems.
The ability to produce, express oneself creatively, vote, and manage money are instruments of power that every individual wields.
The degree to which one does so is the choice of the individual.
The majority of businesses in the US are small businesses. While business ownership overall -- aka small business systems -- demonstrate more equitable representation of female and minority ownership than those of government or global business, banking systems have the farthest to go in championing equity for women and people of color.
This may mean that by supporting finance organizations that are focused on building up small businesses, there is more likely to be a direct impact on building up a wave of women’s and minorities’ equity stakes across industries, and consequently a wave of diverse and representative leadership stepping onto national and global stages.
From supporting local business.
To writing an Op-Ed or expressing one's values creatively.
To voting in local elections or organizing to get out the vote.
To choosing to do work you believe in, or volunteering for causes you believe in.
To spending your money, investing your money, and banking your money with intention.
It is your choice to wield your instruments of power, intentionally, every day.
Using your power indeliberately may result in your relinquishing your power. And hoping that your relinquished power isn't used to undermine your interests during the time that it takes you to retrieve it.
Population data, 2016: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045216
Business ownership data, 2016: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045216
Hollywood data, 2015 : https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/30000-hollywood-film-characters-heres-many-werent-white
Congressional data, 2018: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44762.pdf
Fortune CEOs data, 2017: http://fortune.com/2017/06/07/fortune-women-ceos/
Bank data, 2016: Mighty