Monae Evans ’15
Within the past few weeks, the representation of women in the media has been an ongoing topic of discussion. On February 13, The Women’s Media Center released a report detailing the status of women in media and provided some insightful data about their current representation. According to the report, the media should be held accountable for the inequalities that persist in society. When women’s stories are unheard, over half the county’s thoughts and perspectives are silenced. Individuals are subconsciously affected by everything that is portrayed in the media, and are influenced by the things that they observe and the stories that they read. The Women’s Media Center report describes how the media deprives people of their democracy because they are not getting the full story.
In addition, the report illuminates the issue of inequality and provides an explanation for why it persists. According to the data accumulated on this subject, women constitute about 51 percent of the population, but are underrepresented in the realm of politics, sports, radio, and film. This data gives the implication that a majority of the things we observe in the media are mainly male viewpoints. This finding sheds light on the tendencies of our male-dominated society and informs people about the fallacies of the media. A story without the voices and opinions of women is incomplete and deprives everyone of varying perspectives. Organizations such as The Women’s Media Center strive to create a balance in the media and inform people about these prevalent disadvantages.
In relation to the fight for gender equality, an inspirational story was released last week on CNN in regards to an 11- year old female athlete. Caroline Pla was recently informed that she would be kicked off the football team due to the enactment of a “boys only” rule. Caroline’s coach was notified during the season that she had to be terminated because football is a full contact sport. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia CYO was afraid that Caroline would be injured by participating in the game with boys; however, she pleaded that she had never been hurt. According to Caroline, “it’s not just a safety issue for us; it’s a safety issue for anybody that goes on that field” (Hoye 2013). At a young age, Caroline can clearly see that her gender put her at a disadvantage. However, she is not allowing this to discourage her and she continues to fight for her rights through letter writing and petitioning.
The story on Caroline Pla depicts the harsh realities of gender inequality and how women have to strive to gain a better status. These two articles coincide with everything the Women in Leadership Program attempts to foster. The rise of women in positions of leadership and power is becoming more noticeable in today’s society. However, as women, we have to become knowledgeable of the missing pieces and perspectives in the media in order to foster societal change.