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What’s an Inclusion Rider and How Can We See More Of Them?

"I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider."

It was with those seemingly simple words that an electrified Frances McDormand ended her lively Oscar acceptance speech last Sunday after taking home the Academy Award for Best Actress (the second of her career, by the way). Sharing more than a bit of DNA with the firebrand she portrays in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, McDormand's short but pointed speech brought a vibrancy to an evening that addressed the #MeToo movement but remained overall, a staid black-tie affair.


But McDormand's speech may have left many viewers wondering what exactly is an "inclusion rider." In short, an inclusion rider is just one of many tools artists in Hollywood are beginning to employ to make film and television sets a more equal and diverse place. When an actor or director signs on to a film she or he can negotiate a rider, or additional provisions, that the studio must abide to. These riders can include anything from the size of a star's trailer to the food at craft services. An inclusion rider is a stipulation that the cast and/or crew of the film reflects an equal and diverse workplace in regards to gender, race, sexual orientation and/or disability.

The concept of an inclusion rider was originated by Stacy Smith in a 2016 TED talk entitled "The Data Behind Hollywood's Sexism" In her speech, Smith laid out some startling statistics. "Across the top 100 films of just last year, 48 films didn't feature one black or African-American speaking character, not one," explained Smith. "70 films were devoid of Asian or Asian-American speaking characters that were girls or women. None. Eighty-four films didn't feature one female character that had a disability. And 93 were devoid of lesbian, bisexual or transgender female speaking characters. This is not underrepresentation. This is erasure, and I call this the epidemic of invisibility."

Smith suggests that one catalyst for change could be A-List celebrities. "What if those A-listers simply added an equity clause or an inclusion rider into their contract?" asks Smith. "An equity rider by an A-lister in their contract can stipulate that those roles reflect the world in which we actually live."

If ticket sales are any indication, audiences are welcoming diversity both on screen and in the director's chair. In 2017, Wonder Woman, starring Gal Godot and directed by Patty Jenkins, grossed an astounding $412 million domestically, making it the most financially successful female directed film of all time. Recently, Black Panther and Get Out also proved that films created by and starring African Americans can be box office gold. This Friday sees the release of Disney's A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava Duvernay, an African American woman and it features a diverse cast that includes Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and a teenage African American female lead.

While these recent trends show more than a glimmer of hope, Hollywood still has a long way to go. In 2017, only 8% of the 100 top grossing films were directed by women despite the fact that women make up 52% of the movie going audience. Perhaps if Hollywood begins to heed the words of Frances McDormand, the "silver screen" will begin to get a lot more colorful.

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How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.

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5 Things All Product Managers Should Do for Their Engineers (And Vice Versa)

Tips from SeatGeek's Anuja Chavan

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"There are an extensive amount of things that have to go perfectly at the same time," says the former engineer (and current product manager at live event ticketing platform SeatGeek).

It was that interest in understanding how things actually worked that drove Anuja to study engineering—first electrical, during her undergrad in India, and then computer science, during her master's program in the U.S.

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The Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Life

3 Pieces of Advice from Working Moms at Pluralsight

Being fully committed to work and family is a challenge that many working parents have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless pursuing a fulfilling full-time career, while taking an active role as a parent. Achieving a healthy balance can help keep you motivated and productive at work, while allowing you to be fully present when you're home.

We recently chatted with working moms at technology skills platform, Pluralsight, about their best advice for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points:

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How to Make the Most of Being on a Growing Team: 3 Tips from Plex’s Adriana Bosinceanu

When the startup Adriana Bosinceanu was working for got acquired, things changed fast.

She went from being one of eight engineers on a small team building a streaming service to joining a company that was five times larger and had a much bigger scope.

That company was Plex, where Adriana has been working remotely as a software engineer for the last four and a half years.

As her team grew from two people to ten, Adriana decided to lean into the opportunity to grow; along the way, she found herself deepening her technical skills, her self-confidence, and her relationships. We sat down with Adriana to learn exactly how she did that, and to hear the tips she has for other engineers experiencing growth opportunities on their team.

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What These Companies Are Doing to Celebrate Juneteenth 2021

*Updated on June 17th, 2021 to reflect Juneteenth officially being named a Federal Holiday in the U.S.*

Juneteenth has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s, but in recent years (particularly in response to global protests over police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans), there has been a surge in interest in the day that celebrates freedom.

Before it became an official federal holiday, many businesses shifted toward marking June 19th as an annual company holiday, creating different initiatives around the holiday and offering employees opportunities to learn, reflect, and take action toward racial equality.

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