Posted by: jackiemains20 | February 5, 2015

How far we’ve come

Shonda Rhimes the producer and writer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder was awarded the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the annual Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Breakfast. She was in disbelief that she was the one who was chosen to receive the award but looking at her as a leader she has made great strides for other women through her shows. She’s a role model for being a leader in the entertainment industry and she also produces show that depict strong and mixed racial women. Her speech made me feel inspired and empowered; she didn’t just discuss the struggle women go through and women’s issues. Shonda Rhimes gave a speech that reminded women how far we’ve come. She focused on the women before her who helped power through the glass ceiling and pave the way for her. After reading articles about how hard women have to work it was a nice reminder to see how far we have come.

From her Speech:

“Fifteen years ago, that would not have been as true. There’d have been maybe a few women in Hollywood who could say yes or no. And a lot of D girls and assistants who were gritting their teeth and working really hard. And for someone like me, if I was very very, VERY lucky, there’d have been maybe one small show. One small shot. And that shot would not have involved a leading actress of color, any three-dimensional LGBT characters, any women characters with high powered jobs AND families, and no more than two characters of color in any scene at one time — because that only happened in sitcoms.”

She points out that the right now in this time we have so many representatives of strong women in media and so many different women that are making a difference in this world. She goes on to comment how the women in the room at the event were part of the reason for this change. It’s hard to imagine that so many years ago women weren’t expected to do much, they were supposed to be housewives but now women are getting awards and being producers of award winning shows. Women weren’t given many opportunities fifteen years ago, but now we’ve taken so many leaps forward and are getting the chance to make our views known and stand up for other women who don’t yet have a voice in this fight for equality.

Shonda Rhimes continues to discuss the glass ceiling like it’s a real physical object. The women before us have been running into this ceiling, punching this ceiling, and breaking down this ceiling so that our generation could then run through without feeling the pain of having to break through the glass.”I picked my spot in the glass and called it my target. And I ran. And when I hit finally that ceiling, it just exploded into dust.” Because of the strong and fearless women who have been fighting the fight before us instead of a thick glass separating us maybe now there is just a think slice of glass with holes in it and maybe all it takes is to run through it.

My question is we’ve come so far, how long do you think it will take to be considered equal?

Shonda Rhimes speech eludes to her not experiencing a glass ceiling because of the women before her, is there still a glass ceiling?

In 15 years from now, where will we be?

Her speech was incredibly inspiring and a great read!


  1. In terms of navigating the labyrinth and the glass ceiling, I don’t believe that we can put a concrete time label on it. It would be like trying to tell the future. I hope that in 15 years, we would be continuing in the direction that things are already going. As we talked about in class, we now have twenty women senators. However, I find it very difficult to get specific about where exactly we will be.
    I hope that in 15 years we won’t be talking about tokenism and its implication on women; that it wont be devaluing the merit of women’s leadership, and that women will no longer be judged for their appearance as an indication of their competence. Shonda Rhimes has a great point in her speech. Women in today’s society have so much more privilege than we did even 10 years ago. She speaks about how this opportunity has been given to us by the women who have broken the glass before us. However, that glass still isn’t all the way broken, and we have the chance now to return the favor for the generations that follow us.
    No one knows where we will be in 15 years, but hopefully we use those 15 years as effectively as the women before us.

  2. In one of our discussion in class, Josh mentioned that there is a theory out there that it takes just as long to get over an oppression as it took to end the oppression. His example was slavery was for 400 years and by that theory ti would take 400 years to get over it and not have race as an issue anymore. I think we’re currently in the getting over it phase of gender equality. I think it came to realization in 1919 with women’s right to vote but now its still a struggle for it to not matter anymore. We’ve come so far so that the problem is out there and there are people trying to fix it but we need all the support we can get. I like the part where she mentioned all the women in the room for their help in making this happen. With our discussions in class, we concluded that a woman’s worst enemy is another woman. We’re just so harsh on each other! As for the question about their still being a glass ceiling, I think there is, but new studies show it’s a labyrinth now. It just depends on how you want to look at it. Shonda mentioned it is a thin ceiling with holes in it, but running through even that kind of glass still leaves cuts and bruises. However, I do think from generation to generation the labyrinth will be easier to navigate and the glass ceiling will dissolve. It all starts with us.

  3. In my interview, my woman leader mentioned how we have come so far since the 80s when she first started working, and that the work place is a quite different place for women then it was back then. As for the future, I think it will pan out just like every other type of discrimination. As time goes on, the generations will become more and more accepting of women in leadership positions. Eventually, men and women will be seen as equal, it will just take more time. The important piece is that we are still moving forward.

  4. I honestly feel like we will never achieve actual equality between genders, but I do not say that in a negative way at all. I believe that women definitely are advancing and that it was so encouraging to read that a fellow woman was crashing through the glass ceiling.
    I think it is almost unhealthy of us as women to keep comparing ourselves to men. Why is that our standard to measure up to? Why not just aim to be successful? Not successful in comparison to a man, but just successful based on our own definitions and goals. I don’t think being considered equal should be the mark. In 15 years, I hope that there will have been even more inspiring women in this world who are role models of leadership and change. I hope that they will not just be paving the way for other women, but for men as well. It seems common for women to look up to and emulate men in history, but how often do we hear of a young man admitting that a woman is his role model? Not too often in my experience.

  5. Loved this post! Loved her speech! Thanks for posting it! This is a topic that has been striking a chord with me for awhile in this class. I feel that women leaders are not celebrated or recognized enough in society. Because just as you said we have some truly remarkable women who are proving that being a woman does not mean that you can’t do anything a man can’t do. I feel that feminists and scholars on women and leadership will never cease to be satisfied with how things are. They feel as if something else will always be there to be changed or modified in order to be more equal. This aggression and focus on change detracts from what change has already occurred. I had a girl who is a sophomore in high school ask me this question the other day, “Say you had gotten a high level position within a company but then you found out that they were paying you significantly less that your male counterpart what would you do?” I thought for a few minutes and replied with, “I don’t think I would do much with that.” The high school was shocked and some of you may be too but here’s how I see it: I have the job. Just as Rhimes credits the women before her for her success, I understand that. If I was in a high level position at a major company making over six figures I don’t think I would do anything drastic if I found out that I was earning significantly less money than my male counter part. Because I simply had the opportunity to be in that position in the first place. Because when my grandmother finished college and wanted to work for the federal government people laughed at her. Because these strong women are gaining these positions and making such an influence we will be able to do so much more with our lives when we fill their shoes. I think that in 15 years women leaders will be much more of a norm and hopefully more celebrated.

  6. Firstly, it’s wonderful to see an individual so appreciative of where she’s currently at in life and being able to address gender with such a platform of winning an award. I do agree, things have come a long way, and for that I am thankful. As a pretty independent person, just the fact that in the past there weren’t options for women to be independent with no kids or relationship was strongly frowned upon in my area, and still it I believe. Even though we have a long way to go, we have came a long way. I do sometimes feel like there’s a glass ceiling, but not in means of not progressing, but the constant judgement I get based on how I look that day or act. The way that glass ceiling works for me is that judgements are the glass and that stigma I can’t break apart. I don’t think there will ever be completely neutrality between gender, but I do think that as a society, our generation is changing things and will hopefully continue that pattern.

  7. Women as a whole have come a long way but I do think that there is still a glass ceiling for women in modern society. However, with the metaphor of the ceiling I do believe that the glass is no longer bullet proof but can easily shatter if you apply enough pressure. Hopefully, one day that glass ceiling will no longer be there for future generation and they can look back at the women of today and be humble by are willing to apply that pressure.

  8. The breaking of the glass ceiling has proven to be a very slow process, but we’ve come a very long way so far. So long as there are any sort of physical differences between men and women, there will be some sort of prejudices, just as there are between races, religious affiliations, and sexual preference. That is inevitable, as far as I can see. However, if we gradually keep pushing against the grain and encouraging women to take on leadership and more masculine roles, we can minimize the negative effects that being a woman can have in society. As far as the glass ceiling goes, it’s impossible to tell exactly when it will be irrelevant in society. It is a process that is entirely dependent on the resisting forces of society and the forces of the women and supporters of gender equality. Gradually, more and more individuals are becoming progressive and pushing for equality of the sexes, but I don’t believe that the resistance of the movement is increasing nor decreasing. This causes the process to be slow, but with definite improvement over time. I believe that, within the next 50 years, women will have achieved something very near to equality to men, but it will not come without and strong and constant fight for it.

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