Not just the film industry, but tech, too
Two days earlier, the festival’s largest sponsor, HP, invited Das along with several other leaders of the tech and film industries for a discussion around gender equality. Surrounded by striking HP-printed images of past female jury presidents (only 12 in the festival’s history), the director joined a panel with Hazel Hayes, an emerging filmmaker from the UK, Joanna Popper, global head of virtual reality for location based entertainment at HP, and Nick Lazaridis, president of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region for HP.
“It’s just getting that foot in the door to prove you are as good if not better than a guy,” said Hayes. Though she has hundreds of thousands of followers on her YouTube channel, Hayes said she still faces discrimination. “But there are more opportunities as things start to change.”
HP’s Lazaridis, who is passionate about leading diverse teams across the EMEA region, said the crucial thing is for leaders to move beyond discussions and into measurable action. “We can all talk about gender diversity, but until you put programs in place and hold people accountable, as we are doing at HP, you’re not going to get real change,” he said.
For the companies who lead way, the results can be a win-win. HP’s Popper, who’s worked in both the tech and the entertainment industries throughout her career and is part of the 50 Women Can organization, talked up the business benefits of pursuing gender parity.
“When you have diversity in an organization you see better financial returns, better stock prices and better products,” she explained. “It isn’t just the right thing to do. It has a huge impact on the business.”
Watch HP's entire discussion on gender equality in the film and tech industries on YouTube.