laura linney gender inequality speech women in film gi Laura Linney: Gender inequality is 'unhealthy' for film business

Despite many advances by women in all parts of the industry, entertainment is still overwhelmingly dominated by men. Laura Linney, an actress who has found considerable success in this male-oriented world, had a lot to say about how gender inequality hurts everyone it touches.

The “Big C” actress made her remarks while accepting the Crystal Award for Excellence in Film at Women in Film’s Crystal + Lucy gala on Wednesday (June 12). A three-time Emmy winner and three-time Oscar nominee for acting, Linney used the opportunity to point out the unhealthy isolation of women in the entertainment world.

According to Linney, the small numbers of women in any part of the film business — coupled with business and economic practices that marginalize women — make it impossible for any real change. Her speech ended with a request that those present take the time to mentor a younger woman.

Click here to read the full transcript of Linney’s speech.

Here are some of the highlights from the speech:

  • An enormous amount of time and energy went into conversations about the color of my hair. Producers, all male, would shake their heads in dismay, and send me back to the colorist with some idea of what they wanted with their very specific and helpful straight man vocabulary of “MORE” blonde or “LESS” blonde. (I always thought they were trying to re-create a color from some old flame). It became absurd and predictable and a complete waste of time. I have been more shades of blonde then you can possibly imagine. And it is a miracle that I have a strand left in my head.

  • Unlike in the theatre, I soon realized that for the most part I was surrounded by men.

  • As an actress in film, it is very easy to become isolated just due to the ratio of gender inequality that exists. Rarely do you have a scene with other women, very few women are on the crew, and what few female executives arrive tend to keep to themselves. You have fewer and fewer women to turn to for help or advice, and information is not easily shared.

  • This is a problem. And it is unhealthy. And I believe has something to do with the slow pace of progress women are making, not only in their artistic lives, but especially in their business lives.

  • Obviously, this is a problem that has been extant for DECADES, but the stagnation of progress, and the seeming acceptance of such a practice, troubles me.

  • I love my work. I truly love what I do. And I am grateful every day for the privilege to spend my time in and around the arts. I am also very grateful to the women I have encountered along the way.

Posted by:Laurel Brown