Visits Nashville to Promote Women in Media

by Joe Pagetta

In 2004, Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to bring attention to the disproportionate number of male to female characters presented on children’s programming and to change female portrayals and gender stereotypes. She brought that message to Nashville recently, with two days spent promoting the goal of her institute, along with the work of Nashville Public Television (NPT) and its role in the ITVS and PBS Women and Girls Lead public television campaign, and the Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership at Lipscomb University. While in Music City, she took part in a free NPT-moderated online-only screening of the Women and Girls Lead film War Redefined and was honored at a reception at the new Green Hills home of NPT board member Frank Gordon and his wife Gwen.

Davis’s second day was spent at the Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership at Lipscomb University for a special A League of Their Own event. The day included a private coffee reception followed by a luncheon, remarks from Andrews Institute’s executive director Linda Peek Schacht, NPT president and CEO Beth Curley, former FCC Commissioner Debi Taylor Tate, now co-chair of the Healthy MEdia Commission, and a keynote from Davis. “Women are seriously underrepresented in every sector of society,” the Oscar and Golden Globe winner told the audience.

She was particularly critical of the disproportionate number of male to female characters presented on children’s programming. “We are communicating to society that women and girls are less important than men and boys . . .
our children should be seeing boys and girls sharing the sandbox equally.”

Following the keynote, Tate moderated a panel discussion with Davis, Curley, and the female heads of some of Nashville’s biggest media companies, including Doreen Wade (WSMV), Carol Hudler (The Tennessean), Deborah McDermott (Young Broadcasting), Debbie Turner (News Channel 5), and Kate Herman (Nashville Business Journal). The day wrapped up with Davis introducing a special twentieth anniversary screening of A League of Their Own for more than one hundred Lipscomb Middle School students.

For more information on the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, visit seejane.org. For more information about the Women and Girls Lead public television initiative, visit womenandgirlslead.org.


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