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Frances McDormand accepts the award for best performance by an actress in a leading role for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" at the Oscars on March 4, 2018, in Los Angeles, Calif.
Ed Herrera/ABC
Girls & Women

This Is What Frances McDormand Meant When She Said: 'Inclusion Rider'

When Frances McDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress Sunday night, she placed her trophy on the ground and led the audience in a powerful exercise.

She asked every woman in the theater to stand up, look around, and consider the power of female artists and filmmakers.

“Look around, everybody. Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell, and we all have projects we need to finance,” McDormand said.

But she left many viewers confused when she ended her speech with the two words “inclusion rider.” Here’s what she meant:

Take Action: Urge Leaders to Step Up for Women’s Rights and Health

An inclusion rider is a clause in a contract that requires cast and crew on a film meet a certain level of diversity, the Guardian reports. An inclusion rider means movie studios must interview and hire more women, more people of color, and more people representing other marginalized groups.

The concept was created by Stacy Smith, director of the Annenberg Inclusion Institute. Smith shared her idea as part of a  2016 TED talk.

“Across the top 100 films of [2015], 48 films didn't feature one black or African-American speaking character, not one,” Smith said. “Seventy films were devoid of Asian or Asian-American speaking characters that were girls or women. None. Eighty-four films didn't feature one female character that had a disability. And 93 were devoid of lesbian, bisexual or transgender female speaking characters.”

“This is not underrepresentation,” she continued. “This is erasure, and I call this the epidemic of invisibility”

Smith’s solution? An “inclusion rider.”

Like McDormand, Global Citizen campaigns on equal opportunities for women and other marginalized individuals. You can take action here.

An inclusion rider in a major star’s contract can go a long way to making sure their fellow cast members reflect diverse demographics, Smith said.

And A-listers have already begun signing onto the inclusion rider idea to ensure diversity in their films.