Oscar winner Frances McDormand finished her acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Leading Role at Sunday’s Academy Awards by saying, “I would like to leave you with two words: inclusion rider.”
The phrase “inclusion rider” was coined by Stacy Smith, director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative for the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Smith created the term in 2014 after writing a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter about issues of inclusion in Hollywood. The term describes a demand actors and actresses can add to their contracts to ensure diversity among cast and crew.
In an interview broadcasted by Annenberg Monday on Facebook Live, Smith told Annenberg Dean Willow Bay that the term inclusion rider was a “step toward countering bias in the interviewing or casting process.”
In the interview, Smith said that when McDormand asked all the female nominees in the room to stand, she was surprised with the small number of women in the room. Inclusion rider is a term created years ago, which has experienced increased popularity as a result of the Time’s Up movement, she said.
Smith has conducted years of research on various topics relating to representation in Hollywood, such as patterns of screen representation, behind-the-camera employment and barriers facing women and underrepresented minorities in the media. In her research, she offers the inclusion rider as a solution to counter inequality in Hollywood and the media.
A typical inclusion rider sets numerical goals for casting in entertainment to ensure the “world onscreen looks like the world in which we live,” Smith told The New York Times.
“If 40 percent of the country is filled with individuals from underrepresented racial groups, 20 percent of the country is filled with individuals with disabilities, there is no reason why these individuals aren’t reflected in stories,” Smith told Bay in the interview.