Lack of Female Role Models in Family-Friendly Media?

Photo Credit: UN Women/Catianne Tijerina

In the film “Thelma & Louise” Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis did not portray role models, at least in the most conformist sense.  Nonetheless, those characters differ in at least the current focus on women/girls as “hyper-sexualized” female characters judged by their appearance says Geena Davis. Ms. Davis, who has earned artistic and peer acclaim for her acting, charges that “the message kids are getting through entertainment media is that women and girls are second-class citizens.”

Geena Davis came to the United Nations urging a new perspective and activism to redefine the role and projection of women/girls in media, and this as part of a debate on Gender and Media, during the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women taking place at UN Headquarters, as central to the so-called post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that will drive the global development agenda. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender Equality in Media and the actress have been more frequent participants in such dialogue, also helping shape the definition of “Diplomat-Artist.”

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and UNESCO also co-hosted the discussion. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO offered her assessment: “Only a quarter of people questioned, heard or seen or read about in the media are women. How can we get the whole full story with only half of the world’s voices? We do need to redress this imbalance. Progress is not the same as success.”  (Read more via “Global Film Industry Perpetuates Discrimination Against Women – UN-backed study.” )


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