I don’t know about you, but I have never heard an Academy Awards speech quite like Frances McDormand’s. Of course she thanked her family and co-workers on “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and of course she was excited and a bit flustered.
Call for Inclusion Riders
But that didn’t stop McDormand from seizing her moment of power to advocate for women in film, at all levels. When she concluded her speech calling for “inclusion riders” in contracts, she was demanding that producers and studio executives take seriously the notion of staffing and casting with greater diversity – of gender and more.
Eloquent it wasn’t, but boy was her timing impeccable. In the moments after McDormand’s speech, Google searches for “inclusion riders” spiked and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, whose founder gave a TED talk about the concept, was suddenly in demand on television, radio, and more.
That’s what the rest of us can take away from this year’s Oscars – and hopefully remember the next time we are negotiating for a raise, or extended maternity leave, or anything else.
Negotiating for Equal Pay for Women
Negotiating is tough for a lot of women, no question. Many women find it hard to advocate for themselves: a 2016 survey by Glassdoor found that 68 percent of women accepted the first salary they were offered for their latest job, compared to just 52 percent of men. And when women do negotiate, they are less successful than men: only 4 percent of women who negotiated reported that they got more money, compared to 15 percent of men.
Now, there are several things women can do to build negotiating chops. But one of the most important is this: pick your best moment. Talk to your manager right after you nail a big presentation or land an important client. Do it when you have your manager’s attention – in a good way.
After all, that’s pretty much exactly what Frances McDormand did. At a moment when she had the attention of just about everyone in film – and millions more viewers at home – she called for a specific change to boost women’s presence in her industry.
Well played, ma’am. And now it’s everyone else’s turn.