Harden says that women write, direct and produce most of Hello Sunshine's offerings. The company is producing shows for HBO, Apple, Amazon, Hulu and ABC, as well as movies, a podcast, live events and an audio book partnership with Audible.
She says the company is tapping in to cultural conversations around Time's Up, as well as the power of the female consumer. "[Women] make 85 percent of purchase decisions. They drive 75 percent of financial decisions. They are 50 percent of the box office," Harden said. "When you look at … what's being made for them, there's just huge gaps."
She says Hello Sunshine's work is an example of "gaps being bridged."
More than 20 percent of both genders say it's important for recruiters and casting directors to consider talent from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Further, a third of women and nearly a fifth of men say the number of female movie critics needs to increase, an area where we're seeing some progress. "I've seen a conscious effort to balance the playing field," the independent studio exec said.
A number of women we spoke to also questioned the entertainment industry's reliance on confidential arbitration.
"Almost every contract in the entertainment industry includes an arbitration clause, and arbitrations are always confidential," says longtime entertainment litigation attorney Kathleen Cerniglia Hipps, counsel at Greenspoon Marder LLP. "If someone thinks there's gender discrimination and it goes to arbitration, it's resolved without anyone else in the company or the public knowing about it. Arbitration clauses are meant to protect the company or employer, and don't expose companies for gender discrimination."