Women have been poorly represented and underrepresented in the media industry, both on and off “screen”. The media has been a large contributor to teaching stereotypes and gender roles. Over the years different organizations and foundations have emerged calling for change in the media industry.
In 2007 Geena Davis launched The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. The Institute was created to focus on changing gender stereotypes in children’s media. Davis noticed the same gender roles being shown in children’s entertainment as well as the low numbers of female characters. “The Institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need for gender balance, reducing stereotyping and creating a wide variety of female characters for entertainment targeting children 11 and under “¹ In order for the organization to help change what children see in media geared towards them, the institute uses evidence to show the need for change, educational outreach and research studies. The “See Jane” campaign is used as an educational tool teach gender equality. Following is the public service announcement for “See Jane”. http://youtu.be/BumIt2pIRuw
Before “See Jane”, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) was founded in 1990. Started by a group of female journalists, the organization focuses on women journalists around the world. According to the foundation news media is not complete without a women voice and perspective. Women journalists face different obstacles in different cultures, the group offers programs for women journalists to network and train to then become stronger leaders in the news industry². Every year the foundation publishes a report celebrating female journalist worldwide. They also honor female journalists with the “The Courage in Journalism Awards:. They also hold events to network, raise funds, educate and train, and tell stories. The foundation is also credited with impacting both female and male journalist as well as their communities by offering the education and skills for journalism. The IWMF also has a mission statement video: http://youtu.be/vyZA_w9OH2U
The Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) is another organization for both women and men working in media. Originally founded in 1961 as the American Women in Radio & Television, it is the oldest established association focused on the advancement of women in the media industry. Similar to the IWMF’s Courage in Journalism Awards, the AWM holds “The Gracies”. “The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created for women, by women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individuals who have made contributions to the industry”³. Beginning in 1975, the Gracies have been awarded to individuals creating great work in televisions and radio as well as news media, public service,and sports. The organization also supports scholarships and campaigns. One campaign is the self esteem campaign which is a series of audio recordings from journalist Lisa Ling, radio host Gayle King, journalist Katie Couric and actress Amy Poehler, to help build girls and women’s self esteem.
Link to Self Esteem Campaign: http://allwomeninmedia.org/take-action/self-esteem-campaign
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the International Women’s Media Foundation, and the The Alliance for Women in Media are only three of the many organizations aimed at advancing women representation in the media and entertainment industry. Groups like these try to bring awareness to gender roles and stereotypes being taught through the underrepresented media and call for change.