What did MIPCOM women executives discuss at Global Entertainment Power Lunch regarding feminism and inspiration?

Inspiration can come from unexpected places, and for the panel of executives at this year’s MIPCOM Women in Global Entertainment Power Lunch, it all began with their own mothers. These female movers and shakers in the international television industry shared stories of their first mentors, who happened to be their brilliant and trailblazing mothers. Nekesa Mumbi Moody, co-editor-in-chief of The Hollywood Reporter, proudly spoke about her mother who had a master’s degree in physics and was one of the first Black engineers in New York. Despite her mother’s desire for her to pursue math or science, Mumbi Moody was drawn to storytelling and sharing other people’s stories.

The Power Lunch panel also included Ruth Berry, ITV Studios’ managing director of global partnerships, and Beatrice Springborn, president of Universal International Studios. Together with Mumbi Moody, they discussed their careers, the progress made by women in the entertainment industry, and the work that still needs to be done. The panel was moderated by Melissa Madden, evp international marketing at A&E Media Group, which sponsors the annual Power Lunch. The Hollywood Reporter, the official media partner, publishes its list of the most powerful women in international television to coincide with the event.

During the panel discussion, the atmosphere was inspiring and optimistic, as the women called for a redefinition of the “F” word, feminism. They emphasized the importance of shifting the focus from individual achievement by women to supporting their female colleagues across all aspects of the industry.

Madden expressed her view on feminism, saying, “For so long, that word was defined as self-empowerment, and I really think feminism is more about empowering others. Not just other women, but looking around and seeing who also needs seats at the table and opportunities.”

Mumbi Moody added, “It speaks to the power of the patriarchy that we even feel the need to feel bad about the word feminism. Because for me, feminism is about supporting other women. Why would you not want to empower women?”

The entire panel acknowledged the significant progress that has been made in the industry since the rise of the #MeToo movement. They noted a greater representation of women in positions of power and an increased acceptance of leadership styles that are traditionally associated with femininity.

Springborn highlighted the changing perception of women in leadership roles, saying, “One encouraging thing for me has been the redefinition of what it means to be a woman leader. I think that a lot of times, we look to leadership and we define it as masculine or with male traits. But over the past couple of years, there’s been more awareness of what it means to be a different type of leader or have stereotypical feminine traits and still be an amazing guide and mentor. However, there is still much work to be done.”

Berry echoed Springborn’s sentiment and credited her female boss, ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall, for making a significant difference in the workplace. She noted that their workforce is now 52 percent female and attributed this achievement to the more empathetic nature of female leadership.

However, Berry emphasized that #MeToo was just the beginning. She stated, “It was #MeToo. Now it’s: What Now? and: What Next? #MeToo created an enormous awareness and gave people the courage to speak up and share their experiences. The challenge now is how we constructively move forward, opening up these discussions in different environments to create a wider impact.”

The insights shared by these influential women in the entertainment industry shed light on the progress made and the work still to be done. By redefining feminism and supporting one another, women can continue to break barriers and empower the next generation of female leaders in the global entertainment industry.

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