On Monday afternoon I had the opportunity to volunteer at Global Washington‘s How Girls Can Save the World event. Thanks to a generous donation from Microsoft all 500+ guests were able to attend without any cost. The afternoon had two speakers, Geena Davis of the Geena Davis InstituteÂ on Gender in Media, and Chris Grumm of Chris Grumm Consulting Group; as well as a moderator, former CEO of the Women’s Funding Network and moderator, Andrea Taylor of Microsoft.
The talks were a fascinating confluence of women in media and women in economics, portraying where these worlds intersect and, although vastly diverse, how they are at times inter-dependable. Extremely memorable was Geena Davis’s constant emphasizing of the word feminist. She stressed that we were not be afraid of it as all it means is to believe in equal rights for women.
The event was incredibly engaging and a number of questions were asked at the end. It was refreshing to see young girls (maybe 12 or 13 years old) asking such difficult but pertinent questions. One girl, who was in middle school, asked how she could engage in conversation with her friends about women empowerment and hyper-sexualization. This question and many others were enlighteningly answered by both Geena and Chris.
Some quotes from the evening:
Chris Grumm: “We need system change to help women/girls. Celebrate all success but be five steps ahead.”
Chris Grumm: “The difference between the women of the Global South and the Global North – women in the North are already empowered and the women of the South need more help with empowerment and business opportunities.”
Geena Davis: “Female characters in G-rated movies wear the same revealing clothes as female characters in R-rated movies.”
Geena Davis: “We’re due for a resurgence of the women’s movement!”
Eye-opening statistics that were mentioned:
- 80% of the media consumed worldwide comes from the United States. This is the message we’re exporting.
- If we add women to media at the rate of the last 20 years, it will take 700 years to meet parity. 500 years for congress.
- Teenage girls’ #1 ambition is “reality TV star”.
- There is typically 1 woman for every 3 males in TV/movies/media.
- Research shows the more hours of TV a girl watches, the fewer options she imagines for her life.
Follow #girlssavetheworld on Twitter and you can take a look at the conversation we all had. Tom Paulson at KPLU also wrote a excellent summary of the evening on his blog, Humanosphere.
With our current matching campaign, Give to Girls (#Give2Girls) we can all make a difference and help empower the next generation of women leaders.
Empower women the world over here.