To strengthen the connective tissue between organizations and individuals working on this cause, innovate NEW ideas & to move into ACTION.
Wendy Haines opened the day sharing what inspired the idea for the iWe Summit. As a Producer who is passionate about women’s stories, Wendy found herself coming face to face with the challenges in getting “women’s” films financed. This deepened her awareness of the undervaluing of women and women’s stories in the Industry. The confronting challenge to raise money for “women’s films” is a direct reflection of the “status quo” that says these types of films don’t make money.
In early 2014, Wendy noticed an increase in press about the gender imbalance in the Industry. Terrific. But the articles were focusing only on the problem, not possible solutions. This planted the seed for the need to focus on solutions, thus the idea for the iWe Summit was born. A team of 10 power-women stepped on board and after many months of volunteer efforts the Inaugural iWe Summit took place.
It was a surprise to us that many people are not aware there is a gender imbalance in the Industry. This speaks to how the “way things are” or “status quo” becomes what we are used to and operate within. It’s just how it is. In order to change anything, we first must become aware that there is the need for change. Then we must be willing to get out of our comfort zones (step out of the status quo) in order to create change. We were encouraged to find many who are willing to step up and do things differently. We also found that many are passionate about the issue, but have no idea what they can do to be a part of the solution. As we formulated the vision for the iWe Summit, we knew we wanted this to be an opportunity for people to come together, share their voice and explore new possibilities for being a part of the solution.
We also know that there are many amazing organizations already doing work to shift the gender imbalance and we discovered many more along the way. Yay. But we also noticed a lack of connective tissue between these organizations and efforts. iWe is committed to being a force to create a stronger connective tissue between these organizations in order to augment efforts and support in order to create a stronger united front.
The context that iWe created for the Summit was held by Raquel Lavina, whos expertise is in social and systemic change. We can call this an Industry issue, but when we dig deeper, we recognize that this stems from deep cultural patterns that fuel systemic patterns. By holding this deeper context, iWe aimed to dig toward deeper solutions. iWe was also a context where we not only heard from our panelists, but we invited conversations and brainstorming sessions that included everyone present. We aimed for all voices to have an opportunity to be heard.