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Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Mount St. Mary's College create new partnership to shine a light on the portrayal of women and girls in media

Contact: Phillip Jordan

Los Angeles, Oct. 2, 2013 — Mount St. Mary’s College (MSMC) and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (Institute) have established a long-term strategic alliance that creates new research, educational and advocacy programs under Mount St. Mary’s College.

The first research project is already under way. “Fall TV Snapshot: The Presence and Portrayal of Women and Girls in Television” will offer — for the first time as an academic study — real-time reporting and gender analysis of all new family-targeted fall television programming on the major networks and on targeted cable channels.

The research’s primary focus is to assess how many females are featured in new programs, and what type of portrayals, occupations and physical characteristics those characters have. Students in MSMC’s Film, Media and Communication department will conduct the research, along with students in MSMC’s Quantitative Research Methods class. Results will be used to promote the Institute’s mission to dramatically alter how girls and women are reflected in the media.

“We are thrilled to grow this already fruitful partnership and to officially welcome the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to Mount St. Mary’s College,” says MSMC President Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson. “This alliance mutually strengthens both organizations and enables us to have a greater influence on issues that impact women’s livelihoods and wellbeing. This also provides our students with incredible learning opportunities that directly affect their own lives."

For the past two years, Geena Davis, Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate, has spoken about gender inequalities in the media as part of MSMC’s annual release of its groundbreaking Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™. The Institute’s research was used in the Report’s section on women in media, film and television.

“This alliance came organically out of a working relationship that already existed,” Davis says. “Our Institute is focused on dramatically improving gender balance in children’s media by engaging the entertainment community, and reducing the stereotyping of women and girls in television and film. In working with Mount St. Mary’s, it became clear to me that our missions are thoroughly aligned where it comes to seeking equal opportunity for women in all fields. I’m excited to see what additional insights and progress this partnership will generate.”

In addition to this fall’s initial research program, a second project is in the works for spring 2014, “Gender and Media: The Influence of Film and Television on Girls’ Occupational Aspirations.” MSMC students will assist in research and analysis. Dr. Pam Haldeman, chair of Film, Media and Communication, will serve as principal investigator for both projects.

“This is important because we’re a women’s college and we have women who aspire to a wide variety of careers,” Haldeman says. “Yet media is influencing what careers they choose. Not too many film programs look at media and filmmaking through a gender lens. It’s very empowering for our students to be part of the Institute.”

Additional future partnership projects include:

  • The creation of a new “Gender and Media” minor at MSMC. “Gender and Media” courses are already being offered, with the minor available in the spring of 2014.
  • The continued involvement of Geena Davis in MSMC’s Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™. The 2014 Report is set for release on March 27, 2014. 

Research results will be shared through the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount St. Mary’s College, and incorporated in MSMC’s annual Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™. 

About Mount St. Mary’s College
Founded in 1925, Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles offers a dynamic learning experience in the liberal arts and sciences. Primarily a women’s college, Mount St. Mary’s has a diverse student body, with 50 percent of our students the first in their families to attend college. We are dedicated to providing a superior education enhanced by an emphasis on building leadership skills and fostering a spirit to serve others. For more information, visit www.msmc.la.edu. To read MSMC’s latest Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California™, visit: http://statusofwomen.msmc.la.edu.

About the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount St. Mary’s College
Founded in 2004 by Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, the Institute and its programming arm, See Jane, is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need for gender balance, reducing stereotyping and creating a wide variety of female characters for entertainment targeting children 11 and under. The Institute has amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment spanning 20 years. To learn more, visit: www.seejane.org.

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