The phenomenon of Wonder Woman

Mark Trowbridge, President & CEO Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

Mark Trowbridge, President & CEO Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

The big hit of the summer blockbuster season thus far has been Wonder Woman, raking in nearly $800 million in U.S. box office alone.

An action-packed retelling of the story of super hero Diana Prince, the film opens with Diana learning the warrior skills of an Amazon princess during her early life on Themyscira. Her mother, Queen Hippolyta, who was inspired by Greek mythology, reigns over the Amazons, a race of warrior woman living free from men.

While the story of Wonder Woman reminds us more of our early mythological teachings, there are lessons to be learned that are relevant in today’s world and workplace. Budding superstar Gal Gadot shines as Diana Prince and is equal to the task of being both leading lady and big screen badass, something that is not often seen in today’s cinematic offerings.

Sure, not everything Wonder Woman does passes the smell test (she does possess super natural powers, of course, and the ability to make others tell the truth via her special lasso), but who can deny the way her sword fit perfectly down the back of her beautiful blue evening gown as she prepared to take on her nemesis. Heads were turned — and sharply so!

Her goal in this particular battle is to help end WWI before the Germans and Central Powers turn a lethal gas upon the Allies that would likely lead to their victory over the good guys. Clearly, Wonder Woman is drawn into the fray, fearless in her destruction of the enemy and compassionate toward those left in the battle’s wake. It is a sight to see, both for her male compatriots who know only a rather limited role of women in the early 1900s, as well as those of us sitting rapt in the audience.

Now, much has been made about Gadot’s $300,000 payday for a film that has grossed more than a billion dollars world-wide, which reminds us that women still have to deal with significant pay disparities in almost every trade. Emma Stone revealed that her male co-stars have given up portions of their pay to allow her to make an equal paycheck for equal billing, thus setting her on a path to greater earning power in a male-dominated industry.

It also wasn’t that long ago that Venus Williams, this year’s runner-up at Wimbledon, had to speak out for equal prize money, even in a time when the popularity of the women’s game eclipsed that of the men’s — and those are just the big stories.

Today, women make only about 77 cents to the dollar of what men earn and have to fight upstream in this country for paid leave after the birth/adoption of a child or to care for an ill family member. And after seeing Diana Prince vanquish every single foe with both sheer force and a keen intellect, it seems strange to me that this is still today’s battlefield, both in business and the home front.

We have been lucky as a chamber to be surrounded by “Wonder Women” eagerly serving our non-profit organization at all levels. Ten of our chairs in the past 40 years have been women and much of our leadership today is female, along with 80 percent of our staff. Beyoncé clearly knew what she was talking about…girls run the world and they don’t need a sword or lasso to do it. They just need an opportunity!

As we continue to evolve as an organization, our chamber will remain at the forefront of those issues that affect all of our members and be diligent in our efforts. And, we will keep a watchful eye on those matters that limit growth opportunities for our Wonder Women, because the work they do each day in our communities as leaders is more impressive than anything on the big screen.

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