The ever-busy Eva Longoria used the stage at a Web Summit conference in Dublin yesterday to speak out against sexism in the media and tech industries.
“There is definitely under-representation of women in film and television,” she said, “and I think a large part of that is they’re not behind the camera. There are not enough writers and directors and producers that are female.”
As a consequence, the images of women are too frequently madonna-or-whore: “People tend to put women in boxes: She’s sexy, she’s ambitious, she’s smart, she’s a mom … but [real] women are complex, and we are always underestimated. Women are all of those things at the same time.”
As the executive producer of Lifetime’s Devious Maids and Canada’s Mother Up!, Longoria has been absent from the screen. But she’s kept herself occupied by filling in the roles where she believes more women should be: “Right now, I’m producing and directing a lot: I’m behind the scenes, behind the camera, which I’m enjoying. And I probably will be returning to television next year in a new show. I don’t know what it is yet, but stay tuned.”
She added, “I’m still young, so I haven’t quite hit the ageism yet, but it exists. … [Desperate Housewives] was one of the first shows where most of the leads were over 40, and it was a global phenomenon, and it was a rarity.”
Longoria also tackled the issues of gender and sexism within the tech world. “There’s a conversation to be had on stages like this or world stages, about gender rules and women’s identity,” she said. “Sheryl Sandberg’s book talks about those things – ‘Women can have it all!’ – and I’ve been told that, but women can’t have it all at the same time.”
“I think traditionally, the sexism in these fields is still prevalent. I did my masters thesis specifically on Latino women in STEM fields, and I found a lot of them were discouraged even to this day from going into these fields.”
Longoria then brought up a depressing statistic — that women launch businesses at “three times the national average” — but often find huge hurdles to finding investors.
She pleaded women to help each other. “I want to challenge all the women here today to become mentors to young women, and show them the way, and show them your path…. Because without mentors, the system does not work.”
[via The Guardian]