After graduating from college, I was lucky enough to get a job in my field. I was an analytical chemist for a pharmaceutical company. At first, I felt like I had made it. Here I was, this young woman in corporate America, thinking I was going to help change the world. I was sadly mistaken. I have never felt so belittled or insignificant, despite leading a project that saved the company time and money.
Needless to say, equality in the workplace is a sensitive topic for me. So when I read the film festival description of Equity, “Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) dons power suits to star in a female-centric thriller set on Wall Street… Equity is a smart thriller set in the corporate world”, I knew I had to see this film. As promised, Equity deals with the misogynistic nature of the American business world. Naomi Bishop, played by Gunn, is a successful businesswoman who has been working her entire career for this next promotion but is still forced prove herself to her male boss and fight for a role that, if she were a man, would be hers without question.
What I didn’t quite expect, but appreciated, was the film also highlighting other issues women face in the corporate world and the different types of women found there.
First up is Naomi, the middle-aged woman who does her best to keep her integrity and play by the rules. She gets thrown under the bus by her younger female colleague and mentee, Erin Manning (Sarah Megan Thomas, Backwards).
Erin, the young, attractive and ambitious woman uses stereotypical female tactics to get what she wants. She uses sex to her advantage and stabs her female boss and advocate in the back to get ahead. She represents all that is wrong with women in American business. Yes, she has the very real fear of losing her job when she discovers she’s pregnant but is it protective motherly instinct that drives her to betray her biggest ally? Or is it greed?
Last, but certainly not least, is Samantha (Alysia Reiner, Orange Is the New Black), the unorthodox lawyer who does what it takes to get the job done. She's good, very good. But after years of working low paying government jobs and having a family to support in the country's most expensive city, she jumps ship and takes a lucrative job because money isn’t a dirty word anymore. It's okay to want it, right?
Equity is great. It represents much of what is wrong with America. Land of the Free? More like Land of the Greedy and Morally Ambiguous.
Today equity tends to play out through women stepping on other women to get to the top. It's every woman for herself. And only the prettiest, youngest and most ruthless survive.
While I was pretty and young, I just wasn’t ruthless enough and, thankfully, my stint in corporate America only lasted four years. But that’s four years too long if you ask me and is time I’ll never get back.