Sarah Jessica Parker is cautious about taking on further jobs in fashion after a recent bad experience made her realize sexism is still a prevalent problem across the industry.
The Sex and the City star is refusing to disclose which company she’s referring to in the Marie Claire article, but all signs point to her brief stint at design house Halston, where she had been hired as the Chief Creative Officer of the lower-priced Halston Heritage label in January, 2010.
She silently parted ways with the firm in July, 2011 and now appears to have shed some light on her reasons for quitting, suggesting she was brushed aside by more powerful male executives who were only interested in using her reputation to front the brand.
Parker tells the magazine, “I was brought in to help run a fashion company for about a year (although I don’t want to name names). I was shocked to experience an old-fashioned attitude about women and business: women had titles but were treated as figureheads. So it wasn’t one negotiation, but an ongoing negotiation to make it clear that my voice was just as important, and that if they wanted me to be an active participant, it had to be an open conversation.”
The actress admits she struggled in silence, apart from seeking some advice from her representatives: “I called my lawyer and agent on occasion. But I’m not a little girl; I can’t call Mummy and Daddy all the time. If I take on a responsibility, I want to handle it with the authority given to me.”
However, Parker insists the experience has taught her well for any future endeavors.
She says, “I would’ve been stronger. At first you say, ‘This must be some kind of dysfunctional workplace I can whip into shape.’ But cultures are very hard to undo. I probably would’ve said, ‘This is what I’ve witnessed and this is what I know we need to fix. If it can’t be fixed, we should all shake hands and go our separate ways.’