Inclusion Riders

Even if you were fast asleep by the time the best actress award was given late in the broadcast of the 2018 Academy Awards, chances are you have seen Frances McDormand’s acceptance speech. She used her platform to honor female nominees across all categories, stressing that “we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed.” She ended with a call for inclusion riders. Days later, Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan adopted an inclusion rider for his production company.

What is an inclusion rider?

An inclusion rider is a stipulation to a performer’s contract that a film’s cast and crew maintain a certain level of diversity. The intent of an inclusion rider is to counter bias and gradually move the needle on diversity in the entertainment industry by encouraging producers to hire more women, people of color, immigrants, disabled people, LGBTQ people, and members of other underrepresented groups, so that films better reflect the community at large.

What impact might inclusion riders have on employers outside of the entertainment industry?

The push for inclusion riders follows on the heels of the #metoo and #timesup movements, which have spread beyond Hollywood. However, it’s still too soon to determine whether inclusion riders will catch on in the entertainment industry, let alone if the concept will spread to other industries.

However, they do highlight the need for employers in every field to pay close attention to issues surrounding diversity and pay parity. After all, it’s not only the right thing to do; it’s good business. Research shows that diverse teams are more effective. And going above and beyond compliance with Equal Opportunity Employment Commission guidelines makes you more attractive to candidates and supportive of employees.

It’s possible that highly sought-after candidates could one day ask for an inclusion rider or another contractual clause aiming to increase parity, diversity, or representation. If and when that happens, you’ll want to be ready with a response explaining your company’s efforts in this area.

Get it All

Read more about inclusion riders on NPR or the Washington Post. Or take 15 minutes to watch a 2016 TED Talk by Stacy Smith, founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, who is credited with introducing the idea of inclusion riders.

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About Rachel Sobel

Rachel Sobel recently joined ThinkHR's Knowledge Operations team as a Content Editor. She has more than 25 years of experience as a professional writer, editor, and communications consultant.