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December 30, 2010
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Working to create positive images of girls and women in media and entertainment

  Notes from Geena 
  • Geena Davis Symposium attracts 300 top researchers
    and entertainment industry leaders

    "It Starts With A Script" - Film Panel
    Photo by Josh Cohen
    The second annual Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media symposium, held this month in Los Angeles at Skirball Center Cultural Center, brought together hundreds of behind-the-scenes entertainment-industry content creators and decision-makers as well as researchers to challenge the lack of gender equality in Hollywood and address gender stereotypes in children's entertainment.

    Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis on Gender in Media Institute, and Alloy Media Chairman of the Board Geraldine Laybourne were among the event's keynote speakers. A roundtable discussion of researchers, a luncheon and panels rounded out the one-day event, giving the invitation-only attendees a chance to hear yet-to-be published research from Dr. Stacy Smith, associate professor at USC's Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism, on the industry's openness to make change as as well as hear insight on how to improve female portrayals and reduce gender stereotyping in children's film and television content.

    The event's speakers and panel participants included: Vinny Bruzzese, president, Ipsos OTX Motion Picture Group; Don Hahn, producer/director, Walt Disney Studios; Laeta Kalogridis, producer and writer; John Lee Hancock, director and writer; Linda Woolverton, writer; Erin Fuller, CEO Alliance of Women in Media; Gina Girolamo, SVP, TV, Alloy Media; Linda Simensky, VP, Children's Programming at PBS; and Nancy Kanter, SVP, Playhouse Disney Worldwide.

    The event was sponsored by Wallis Annenberg, The Annenberg Foundation, CAA, CBS, Sony, Disney/ABC and Nickelodeon. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Gender In Media 
  • Davis challenges film and TV writers to change things up
    "Thinking Different: Sponge Barb to Henry Montana" - TV panel
    Photo by Josh Cohen
    In her continuing quest to draw attention to the issue of gender inequality in the media, Geena Davis is challenging film writers to think twice about relying on male characters and think "female" when writing, developing and making films. "Go through your scripts and see what characters you can change to female; it's easier than you think," Davis said after her Gender in Media invite-only symposium on Dec. 15. "... it's a great, freeing idea I think especially for men writers to realize, 'Wait a minute, I don't have to have some special skills or tricks to write a female character. I just write a character -- who can be a man or a woman.'" Broadcasting & Cable (12/17), (12/20), blog (12/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Burton sisters analyze the Symposium
    Dr. Stacy Smith
    Photo by Josh Cohen
    Breaking down gender inequity in Hollywood through statistics and facts was goal of the second annual Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media's symposium, note sisters Maria Burton, Gabrielle Burton, and Ursula Burton of Five Sisters Productions in this guest blog post. The Burton sisters summed up the day, which featured a roundtable discussion with researchers as well as speeches by Geena Davis, Dr. Stacy Smith and Geraldine Laybourne, with the audience's takeaway sentiment: "Change is possible, it's just a choice. Make that choice, commit to it and DO IT!" Women And Hollywood (12/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Young actress steals the spotlight in movie boasting male leads
    Hailee Steinfeld's portray of Mattie in the movie "True Grit" is the second strong female performance this year, following Jennifer Lawrence's character in "Winter's Bone," according to this blog post. "So when you look at the poster or ads for 'True Grit' and think that it is a typical Western with guys on their horses and no women, know that this movie is all about a girl and her True Grit," writes Melissa Silverstein. Women And Hollywood (12/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report: It's time to stop female sexualization on TV
    A new study says its time to stop the sexualization of teen females on TV, and that it will take a coordinated effort by actors, viewers, parents and advertisers to push broadcast media outlets to make it happen. The report indicates that underage female characters were shown during the 2009-10 TV season as "participating in a higher percentage of sexual depictions" when compared to adult characters -- 47% to 29%. Valle blog (12/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Trends & Insights 
  • Females are a rare sight in family-oriented films
    Not only do most film makers make little attempt to provide equality when it comes to male and female characters in films, some have actually gone out of their way to change nature to fit a male character. Take the "Bee Movie," which portrayed all the worker bee characters as males, when in nature these bees are female. As a Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media report reveals, women made up only 29.2% of characters in 122 films released between 2006 and 2009 rated PG-13, PG or G. (12/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • A year in review: Women and the film industry
    A review of this year's film-making trends by female writers indicates strong young female characters are gaining ground in the movie industry. Female film directors are still facing challenges, despite the fact that two of this year's most notable movies were directed by women, according to this blog post. Women And Hollywood (12/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Can a spotlight foster more equality in media?
    All it took was a little awareness for "The Daily Show" to begin to invite more female guests on the show, but hard data shows that males still dominate the big screen. Seventy-one percent of speaking roles in contemporary movies from 2004 to 2009 were filled by men, according to research coming out of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. The same can easily happen with TV producers, film makers and other media and entertainment venues, says one industry watcher. (12/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Ideas in Action 
  • Campaign aims to kick off a female equity effort
    The Women Moving Millions Campaign, a partnership between and philanthropists Swanee and Helen LaKelly Hunt, aims to kick-start a movement of activity around research, problem-solving and lawmaking that are focused on a balanced society in terms of gender equality. The goal is to help girls and women reach their full potential. Women's eNews (12/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why it's time to prove that girls can do the math
    It's time to dump the stereotype that young girls can't excel in the math and science fields, says Christine Chiu, manager of research and executive programs, at the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. The negative, and erroneous, message could become self-fulfilling if it's not challenged and squashed, and could play a role in self-confidence and lack of achievement with young women. (12/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Endeavor to be innocent as a dove, but as wise as a serpent."
--Lady Anne Fanshawe,
British memoirist

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About Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Six years ago, while watching children's entertainment with her young daughter, Academy Award winner Geena Davis noticed a remarkable imbalance in the ratio of male to female characters. From that small starting point, Davis commissioned the largest research study ever undertaken on gender in children's entertainment. The research showed that in the top-grossing G-rated films, there were three male characters for every one female - a statistic that still has not improved. The Institute is the leading resource for gender in media research, trends and education for the entertainment industry and the public. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and See Jane are a project of Community Partners.
About See Jane
See Jane is a program of the Institute that utilizes research, education and advocacy to engage the entertainment industry and recognize the need for gender balance and varied portrayals of females and male characters into movies, TV, and other media aimed at children 11 and under. We work cooperatively and collaboratively with entertainment creators to encourage them to be leaders in creating positive change.
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