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On the Topic of Gender Equality and the 50/50 Film with Tiffany Shlain

Tiffany Shlain is a woman of many talents—filmmaker, author, public speaker, mother, and the founder of the Webby Awards—and her recently launched film project, the 50/50 Film, gives the 10,000-year history of women and power. 50/50 premiered on October 27, 2016 (simultaneously live at #TEDWomen and 275 TEDx’s globally, online on Refinery29 and on TV on Comcast’s Watchable) and has four million views to date.

We sat down with Tiffany to talk about her newest film, 50/50 Day (happening on May 10, 2017) and got a glimpse into how she Breaks the Mold, even beyond creating revolutionary films.

Tell me more about the 50/50 project and what you’re hoping to accomplish.

Two weeks before the 2016 election last October, I premiered a film I made called 50/50 that looked at the 10,000-year history of women in power. I woke up the morning after the election and felt like we were moving backwards—not forward—and that now more than ever, we have to have a global conversation about what it’s really going to take to get to 50/50 gender equality in this country.”

I’m so proud to say that we have 9,500 screenings happening on May 10, 2017 (a day we’ve formally named 50/50 Day), in 46 states and across 51 countries. Sign up now to participate in 50/50 Day (it’s free!).

What is your method for work-life balance?

I am married and have two daughters, and as my family has grown I have started a tradition of completely unplugging every week from Friday night to Saturday night. This means no technology is used whatsoever. This 24-hour break from the madness helps me feel grounded and balanced—and, it gives my family one day where we’re all incredibly present with each other.

I also go to bed religiously at 9 PM and get up ta 5 AM. It’s been an adjustment, but having those two hours of daytime before my daughters get up in the morning makes me feel like I can get so much more done throughout the day. Sticking to a bedtime routine helps me stay balanced, as well—I take a bath, read, and am in bed by 9 PM every night.

How do you #BreakTheMold and stray away from the conventional in your daily life?

Forcing myself to take these “technology shabbats” and unplugging is my personal way of straying away from the conventional. People are always so surprised to hear that not only I do this, but that my entire family does as well. It’s my way of Breaking the Mold in the 21st century.

What piece of advice do you have for women just starting out in their career?

“I always say that when you’re young is the perfect time to take risks.”

When you have more people counting on you later in life, you can take risks too, but they’re different kinds of risks. When you’re young you can be bolder and jump further.

Also, on a personal note, I have had issues with infertility and miscarriages in the past, and looking back I wish I would have thought more and been more proactive about my plan for having children. I always thought I would have all the time in the world, but I wish I would have started thinking about those things earlier than I did.

What quotation or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and #BreakTheMold?

“To whom much was given, much was expected.”

Extra Credit

What is the most-used app on your phone — and why?

Twitter. It’s where I get to interface with unusual ideas and get all of my news in one place.

What’s the first thing you do every morning?

I get up at 5 AM, start my coffee, and really try to use this time to do some creative writing.

What book could you re-read over and over?

Art and Physics (written by my dad).

What is your go-to bra style?

I have big breasts (can I say that?!), so anything that separates!

Finish the sentence: I #BreakTheMold by _____.

I #BreakTheMold by trying things that have never been done before.

This post is part of our #BreakTheMold series, where we celebrate the lives and work of trailblazing women. Check out the rest of the series here.

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