Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Davis to study women in film for UN

Geena Davis' media institute is looking into women's roles in film

Geena Davis is to study the portrayal of females in films with the United Nations.

The Oscar-winning actress, the founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, is teaming up with the UN women's agency to support the first global study into gender representation on the big screen, said The Hollywood Reporter.

The 57-year-old, who played the first female President in the TV series Commander In Chief, said in a statement: "Media images have an enormous impact on children's self-esteem and aspirations. This is why we decided to launch a global gender in media study: If girls see it, they can be it."

Lakshmi Puri, acting head of UN Women, added: "We cannot let the negative depiction of women and girls erode the hard gains that have been made on gender equality and women's empowerment. We hope that the study will address factors that positively impact the perception of women in society."

According to UN Women, the study - commissioned by Davis' institute - will look at successful films around the world including the UK, Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia and Spain, with the results to be released in late 2014.

Previous research by the institute showed that only 3.4 per cent of business leader characters and 4.5 per cent of high-level politicians were women, and that only 28.3 per cent of all speaking characters were female in American family films.

Geena, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for The Accidental Tourist in 1988 and starred in Thelma And Louise, is a special envoy of the UN International Telecommunication Union to promote the empowering role that technology can play in the lives of women and girls.

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