In Equity, a new thriller about female executives working on Wall Street, it’s okay for women to be ambitious and like money. The brainchild of Sarah Megan Thomas and Alysia Reiner, who produced and starred in the film alongside two-time Emmy winner Anna Gunn, the film was largely the result of interviews with — and financing from — roughly two-dozen powerful current and former Wall Street women. Together with screenwriter Amy Fox and director Meera Menon, Equity also fielded an all-female creative team.
The story follows Bishop, played by Gunn, a top-tier investment banker in her 40s hoping to secure a tech firm for a big IPO. Early in the film, Bishop is denied a promotion from her boss because, he tells her, “the perception is that you rubbed some people the wrong way.”
According to Barbara Byrne, vice-chairman of banking at Barclays, one might be surprised at how often women seem to have this problem. “Just a few weeks ago, I was told after a meeting that I’d been overbearing,” said Byrne, one of the film’s co-producers, during a panel discussion after a screening this week. “I said, ‘Is that because I had an opinion or because I was correct?'”
Sallie Krawcheck, a Wall Street veteran who in May launched Ellevest, a female-focused digital investing platform aimed at closing the “gender investing gap,” says that research has found likability and success to be correlated in men, but inversely correlated in women. Female bosses, and politicians like Hillary Clinton, she argues, always struggle with being liked. “It’s funny how unlikable I was when I was running Merrill Lynch but how likable I was after I was fired,” Krawcheck added.
Krawcheck was among the businesswomen consulted for Equity, and she said that she was glad to see a positive representation of those working in the financial services sector — particularly the women. “You don’t see any films about women on Wall Street, let alone films about women on Wall Street with honorable characters,” said Krawcheck. “This is a pretty important film from that perspective.”
Check out the trailer below:
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