Google Recognizes the Geena Davis Institute’s Commitment to Women and Girls

Women and Girls Lead partner, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, has been selected by Google to receive the inaugural Global Impact Award.

The Global Impact Awards support organizations using technology and innovative approaches to tackle some of the world’s toughest human challenges.  The Geena Davis Institute will be one of seven organizations to receive the $1.2 million grant.  The award will be used to support the development of new software to analyze gender portrayals on screen, allowing previously time-intensive research to scale globally and accelerating the positive representation of female characters in children’s media.

Although the world’s population is more than 50 percent female, women are outnumbered by males three to one in U.S. media and five to one behind the camera. Additionally, female characters are six times more likely to be depicted in family films as partially nude with extremely tiny waists or sexually-suggestive clothing.

What kids see on television at a young age has very real effects on their development and social and cultural behaviors and beliefs. These negative images contribute to increased likelihood for girls to have poor academic performance, body image issues, early sexual behavior, and less promising life and occupational choices. Continue reading

Geena Davis Fights for Women and Girls in Hollywood

Academy Award-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis is at it again, shining light on the lack of female representation in the entertainment industry. Struck by the uneven media landscape eight years ago while watching television with her daughter, Davis has worked tirelessly to promote the positive and balanced portrayal of girls in the media. This week, KCET aired a segment on Davis’ work with her organization, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and ITVS’s Women and Girls Lead.

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Back in November, before the third annual Symposium on Gender in Media where the Geena Davis Institute released their latest research, Ms. Magazine sat down with Davis to discuss the lack of advancement in female representation and the part feminism plays in altering how girls and women are characterized. Click here to read the full article on the Ms. Magazine blog.  Access Hollywood attended the event and incorporated some of Davis’ work into their report on gender representation in media.

To learn more about the Women and Girls Lead initiative, please click here.

Independent Lens Takes Center Stage at TCA Press Tour

The weekly series held two high profile events at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles, featuring Byron Hurt’s new film Soul Food Junkies and the landmark, two-part series Half the Sky.

PBS held court for two days at the Beverly Hilton, as they unveiled Public Television’s upcoming fall lineup for the critics.

On Saturday, critics previewed Soul Food Junkies, a new film by Independent Lens alum Byron Hurt (Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes).
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Geena Davis Says Women and Girls Lead in Nashville

By Steve Goldbloom
Marketing & Communications Manager, ITVS 

The Academy Award-winning actor and advocate made her first visit to Nashville this week, speaking at multiple events devoted to empowering women and girls.

Geena Davis delivering her keynote address at Lipscomb University in Nashville

On Thursday, Lipscomb University’s Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media hosted the event: “A League of Their Own,” — featuring an inspiring keynote address from Geena Davis.

The program was in partnership with Nashville Public Television and its support of the public media campaign, Women and Girls Lead.

“Women are seriously underrepresented in every sector of society,” the Oscar-winner pointed out before a packed audience.

Davis was particularly critical of the disproportionate number of male to female characters presented on children’s programming.
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Live Chat with Geena Davis on Women and Girls Lead

On Wednesday, May 23 at 3pm CT / 4pm ET — Women and Girls Lead advocate and Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis will participate in a live social screening and chat about women’s empowerment. Nashville Public Television will produce the event, which will stream the War Redefined (narrated by Davis), as episode from the acclaimed series Women War and Peace. Follow this link to participate in Wednesday’s event with Geena Davis.

The capstone of PBS’s Women, War & Peace — War Redefined challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain through incisive interviews with leading thinkers, Secretaries of State and seasoned survivors of war and peace-making.
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Women and Girls Lead Says: Man Up!

The Man Up Campaign — a global effort activating young women and men to stop violence against women and girls — is presenting a film festival on Saturday, December 3 at 4 PM at Maysles Cinema in New York. The day-long festival will include titles from ITVS’s Women and Girls Lead Campaign, including the PBS series Women, War, and Peace.

The Man Up Campaign is dedicated to mobilizing young people and strengthening their in-country programs. The initiative formally launched during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, bringing together a diverse group of up to 100 women and men (ages 18 to 30) from 25 countries. Occurring at the University of Johannesburg, this international forum was the first of its kind to develop capacity and technical expertise among young people of both genders, who are committed to stopping violence against women and girls.

Find a complete rundown of Saturday’s Man Up Film Festival series schedule after the jump.

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World Mourns Passing of Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai, the first environmentalist and African woman to win the Nobel Prize, passed away while having treatment for ovarian cancer on Monday.

Wangari Maathai, the first environmentalist and African woman to win the Nobel Prize, passed away on Monday while having treatment for ovarian cancer. Maathai was the founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization encouraging women and families to plant trees.

She was recently the focus of the Independent Lens documentary Taking Root: The Story of Wangari Maathai and was featured in DIRT! The Movie. Maathai will be remembered for her work in women’s rights, democracy, and the environment.

Watch the trailer for Taking Root: The Story of Wangari Maathai >>
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How to Raise a Feminist Baby Boy

By Annelise Wunderlich

ITVS Education Manager Annelise Wunderlich decides she’s not afraid of teaching her son the F-word.

Annelise Wunderlich with her eight-month old baby boy Tiago.

When I told my husband about the title of this post, he raised a skeptical eyebrow. Really? Feminist? What did I mean by that, exactly? I think he envisioned me forcing our eight-month old son, Tiago, to wear pink leggings, read Betty Friedan before bed, and sing along to Ani DiFranco in the car. Was I proposing that we raise Tiago to feel guilty about his masculinity, or to resist patriarchy at the playground? Not that my husband isn’t a big supporter of women, but couldn’t we just let the baby learn how to chew first? Have I been in Northern California too long?
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Geena Davis Expects Women and Girls to Lead

Oscar-winning Actor Geena Davis helped launch ITVS’ Women and Girls Lead campaign at the PBS Annual meeting in Orlando, FL. Here, Davis describes why she has so much faith in the power of public media and the power of women and girls.

During the conference, Davis discussed her own work on gender discrimination in media, as well as ITVS’ multi-year initiative, aimed at supporting women and girls’ leadership through independent films. Find out more at

Women and Girls Lead Takes Off at PBS Annual Meeting

Women and Girls Lead, the multi-year public media campaign to amplify the voices of women and girls worldwide, officially lifted off Thursday. The campaign was launched during a breakfast hosted by ITVS and CPB during this week’s PBS Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis and CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison broke the champagne bottle across the proverbial bow with their stirring opening remarks. Thursday’s event was stacked with even more special guests, including a troop from Girl Scouts of the USA. Check out some video highlights from the event below and learn more about Women and Girls Lead.