What do movies like The Intern and Suffragette tell us about “Empowerment” in the 21st century!

The next wave of empowerment will be in the areas of inclusion and diversity both in concept and in practice since it is evident that most companies with diverse ecosystems are also the most thriving. There is a need for a more holistic approach towards workplace Equality – shrugging off the whole equal opportunity gimmickry that is merely a façade in many companies considering the factors like gender and pay gaps at play.

With the brouhaha around 2012’s Mayan apocalypse safley behind us (barring the occasional crap on “end of the world” shenanigans), the only thing that perhaps ended wasn’t our world but the belief of status quo. Change albeit metaphorical is inevitable and nothing can be more endearing to see it unfold right in front of us. Antiquated industries are getting digitized by the day and the old is getting reinvented to its brand new 21st century avatar. We are seeing this disruption in all aspects of our lives. Change is the real source where empowerment stems from.

You should watch Suffragette, a new release. The movie revolves around the early feminist movement demanding equal rights against the backdrop of archaic and misogynist attitudes of society. In more ways than one, the premise and the message the movie conveys can be traced back to the current century and it obviously manifests in many different ways: The gender pay gap for instance is a contentious issue and is not just limited to Hollywood alone:

Jennifer Lawrence pens essay on Hollywood sexism

The top two highest-paid male CEOs make more than all the top-paid female CEOs combined – @RosePastore via @FastCompany

Yes, lot of women-dominated professions do face the same gender pay gap issue like the fashion industry and occupations like modelling where women are paid much better than their male counterparts. However, this alone cannot clarify my point. Most of the industries listed in these statistics are not predominantly male-oriented. They are open ground of sorts and yet the gender pay gap is conspicuously apparent. This is despite the fact that the top 25 women CEO’s are controlling over $893B in stock market value around the globe!

The next wave of empowerment will be in the areas of inclusion and diversity both in concept and in practice since it is evident that most companies with diverse ecosystems are also the most thriving. There is a need for a more holistic approach towards workplace Equality – shrugging off the whole equal opportunity gimmickry that is merely a façade in many organisations considering  factors like gender and pay gaps are usually at play.

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The 21st century women empowerment – There may no longer be a novelty factor in this phrase, yet it is pretty intense how its being interpreted today :

Notwithstanding high expectations from the ongoing presidential campaign and amongst many presidential hopefuls and largely swaggering men of stature and influence, Hillary Rodham Clinton manages to retain a confident and commanding demeanour remaining unobtrusive about her husband’s past indiscretions, unfazed about the infamous email leaks as much as about over-hyped selfie with Kim Kardashian.  She manages to make objective seem subjective with an apt articulation of her brand. She truly epitomizes the essence of empowerment! I’m not a US citizen and it does not directly matter to me who wins the US presidential race but I stand with her in what she stands for. #HillaryForPresident

Another perfect example of empowerment in the modern context can be seen in Saudi born singer Shams Bandar Al-Aslami. Her decision to give up on her Saudi and Kuwaiti citizenship on account of hypocrisy in the Arab world in general was not well received – even labeling her decision akin to defection. Irrespective, Shams Bandar remains calm in the face of the storm as her retort to people who dis her is based on logic and reasoning.

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I was going through an interesting insight on late bloomers – people who have become successful past their prime. Many still continue to awe and inspire us as they continue to reinvent themselves.

24 people who became highly successful after age 40

From an employability angle, it is a fact that the older workers find it hard to find jobs. However, its heartening to see initiatives by a few institutions that are trying to improve employment opportunities for older workforce, whilst building awareness on the value they bring to the table and removing barriers that prevent them from getting gainfully employed.

Recommend Reading: Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … And Pays the Bills

While we are on this subject, another movie I highly recommend watching is The Intern. Why? Well, the movie dwells on changing perception of the millennial generation on Ageism and inclusion of the older workforce post-retirement. It gets more surreal as one the main protagonist played by Anne Hathaway is portrayed as a time constrained businesswoman having second thoughts on hiring an older intern in her team played by Robert De Niro. Incidentally Hathaway has felt the signs of Hollywood ageism on account of losing stimulating roles to younger actors. The film also gently touches upon the changing perception of issues related to gender neutrality as the character Hathaway plays is married to a stay-at-home dad who chooses to take care of their daughter and to let his wife realize her entrepreneurial ambition.

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All the ISMs from Feminism, Racism, Lgbtism to Ageism and Sexism have struggled to break free from the shackles of conformity and continue to lead us to a more non-discriminatory and empowered world. There are disguised versions of these ISMs prevalent… in no small measure and polarities exist unfortunately despite high level of awareness. However, the signs of change are all around us. Some may argue, which is fine.. because for every argument in favour you will find an argument against.

-Amit Anand

Image Credits:                                                             The Intern : womensvoicesforchange.org                   Suffragette : fashiongonerogue

With over 20,000 followers across our social media network, Vogueistic aims to bridge the gap between The Brand and the Consumer, celebrating individuality, uniqueness and the spirit of #ThisIsMe as opposed to #ThisIsThemAndWeNeedToBeLikeThem! Vogueistic focuses on value perception in an increasingly value-driven marketplace of today.

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