Posted by: ginalazenby | November 13, 2009

Pioneering Geena Davis honoured

The Women’s Foundation of California, (WFC) celebrated a milestone with their 30th anniversary lunch which I just attended – a prestigious event with 400+ women in San Francisco. Among those they honoured was a male Senator (Mark Leno) for his activism work and the key leader of the WFC’s Women’s Policy Institute which has trained over 160 women in getting legislation changed.  While there I met actress Geena Davis, honoured at the WFC lunch as a Pioneer. Never mind her ground-breaking movies Thelma & Louise and In a League of Their Own which she said had women and girls coming up to her in the street to thank her for changing their lives. After that she realised “just how few opportunities we give women to come out of movies feeling pumped!” She knew she had to engage in some form of activism. She raised funds for the largest research project ever undertaken on gender in children’s entertainment.
The research results shocked Davis and led her to found The Geena Davis Institute. One of the aims being to reduce stereotyping of women and to get more female roles (the ratio of male to female characters is 3:1) her campaign “I want to see Jane … “ aims to improve gender portrayals in children’s media. 83% of film and TV narrators are male and females are 4 times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire and two times more likely to be depicted with a tiny waistline in children’s television. Davis said that TV is the number one activity for young kids and female cartoon characters are more likely to have “unrealistic body shapes where there is no room for a womb.”   You can download the report findings


Another honoree at the WFC lunch was former Board chair Elmy Bermejo. She spoke of the need for women to look out for others and to open doors for them while ever we can. “When a door of opportunity opens for you, look round and take the hand of a woman or girl behind you and bring them through”.


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