Academy Award winning actress Geena Davis joined Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D- WI) on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to introduce a bill that would support efforts to improve the image of girls and women in the media.
“I am proud to join with Sen. Hagan and Rep. Baldwin to promote gender equality and positive portrayals of women and girls in the media,” Davis said in a statement. “What children see affects their attitudes toward male and female roles and impacts the value they place on girls and women in society. The Healthy Media for Youth Act will help ensure we are creating a positive media environment for all our children.”
The legislation would provide grants to encourage and support media literacy programs and youth empowerment groups, facilitate research on how depictions of women and girls in the media affect youth. It also would establish a National Taskforce on Women and Girls in the Media, intended to develop voluntary standards that promote healthy, balanced, and positive images of girls and women in the media.
The bill's introduction coincides with the first meeting of the Healthy MEdia Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls, co-chaired by Davis and former FCC Chairman Deborah Taylor Tate. With representatives from more than 30 media and women's organizations, the commission’s goals include developing best practices for improving the images of women in the film industry.
Davis founded an institute on gender equality in media and has been collecting research on women in film for the past six years. According to its research, negative and stereotypical images of women have persisted Hollywood for decades. “When there is a woman working in as a writer or producer in a film, there is a greater chance that the film will include more positive images of women and girls,” Davis said.