Geena Davis has penned an article for UN Women about gender equality in media both on-screen and off-screen.

“Less than a quarter of the on-screen global workforce is female — much lower than in the real world,” she wrote. "Women are far less likely to be a judge or doctor or in any other professional or leadership position, and women and girls are twice as likely as men and boys to appear in sexualized attire or nude.

“These very enlightening and disturbingly bleak findings were part of the first-ever international study on the portrayal of women in films that my institute on Gender and Media commissioned from the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, and presented last year with the support of UN Women and the Rockefeller Foundation.

“I have stressed how important it is for future generations to have more female characters. We know that girls feel less empowered the more TV they watch, while boy’s views become more sexist. There are important ethical questions concerning stereotypes or hypersexual images to young children. No one thinks it is a positive development that, as one recent study found, girls as young as six are seeing themselves through the male gaze.

“There is also an economic argument — research shows that films with more women and girls make more money, and are less likely to fail.

“In the time it takes to create a television show or to make a movie, we can change what the future looks like. In other words, we don’t have to wait for society to turn things around, we can create the future now, through what people see. Yes, there are woefully few women CEOs in the world, but lots of them can be women on screen. How long will it take to fix the problem of corporate boards being so unequal? Well, they can be half women tomorrow, in films and on TV.

“Here’s a simple solution; cast more women in roles written for men. The time is now for media to make the future – where we have done away with gender bias – a reality today, on-screen.”

Read the full article here.

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