Why are professional women, not men, frequently judged by their clothes and shoes? Take a look at female TV reporters on Fox, ESPN and local news.

equityEquity is a movie written and directed by women (Amy Fox, Sarah Megan Thomas and Meera Menon) aimed at a professional female audience. It deals with the challenges faced by women as they try to gain a place in the financial district of Wall Street. In the process as they confront immense problems known to them and ignored by men.

Here the film focuses on an investment banker named Naomi Bishop, played with unapologetic determination by Anna Gunn. Ironically, she comes off another hard-nosed performance in the simultaneously released Sully where she plays a member of the Safety Board reviewing the pilots’ conduct after landing in the Hudson.

Lending her advice to an IPO that is trying to go public out of San Francisco, she is seeking a promotion in her firm that her male boss all but ignores. While she recognizes the obvious problems faced by ambitious women when their clothes and shoes are analyzed at every turn. Embracing the long hours required in her dog-eat-dog world, she is determined to come out on top. The financial world involved with hedge funds demand (shouldn’t it be demands since financial world is the subject of the sentence?) dedication and long hours, and she is determined to come out on top.

The movie also focuses on her assistant, Erin Manning (Sarah Megan Thomas, also a script writer for the film) and Samantha (Alysia Reiner), an Assistant United States Attorney investigating financial malfeasance. Ms. Manning also is on edge because of her lack of promotion, and feminism becomes an easy cause to abandon if it will aid in her advancement.

As for Samantha, she faces the dual goal of seeking indictments while pursuing opportunities in the private sector where she can find financial security. The only real weakness of the film concerns the suggestion that all Assistant U.S. Attorneys want to stay in their position only long enough to enter the lucrative financial market. To the contrary, I know many female Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and their dedication to their job never waivers.

As I reflected on this film centering on women continually fighting to crash through a glass ceiling, I was reminded of a recent development in our Indiana legal community. Within the past week, a prominent publication cited 20 lawyers as distinguished mediators. Only one woman was a member of the group dominated by 19 white men. That is profoundly embarrassing, particularly for those of us practicing law. It is almost as if those holding power and influence in the legal community have quietly decided that you can’t expect women to have the capability of solving complicated legal problems.

Need I say more?