By Jane Fonda, Women’s Media Center
Posted on March 5, 2010, Printed on March 5, 2010
Without women, the greatest moments in film this year would not have been possible. Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and I founded Women’s Media Center (WMC) five years ago to keep proving that very point: women are not only assets but requirements for a truly democratic media – and for strong and innovative entertainment. In this spirit, we at WMC celebrate all the women nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. Our video tribute below features clips from Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, Meryl Streep’s uncanny Julia Child, the Set Direction and Art Decoration for Sherlock Holmes, the documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America from Executive Producer Jodie Evans – CODEPINK founder, and Women’s Media Center board chair – and many more:
I’ve seen women’s cinematic influence throughout my career, but despite some historic awards this year (for Bigelow in particular) an annual report from professor Martha Lauzen – aptly named “The Celluloid Ceiling” – reveals the grim state of women in Hollywood.
Women directors actually dropped by 2% since 2008, accounting for just 7% of directors on the 250 top-grossing movies of 2009. That’s the same number as 1987. Only 2% of the top 250 films credited female cinematographers, and just 8% of writers were female; 86% of the films had no female writers credited. The list goes on.
Women’s Media Center responds to just this kind of disparity; we recognize the need to amplify women’s voices and tell women’s stories. What we view in the media – and who presents it to us – does so much to determine how we think, how we feel about ourselves, and how we view the world. Studies like Professor Lauzen’s are critical reminders of just how much work remains to ensure that all media – including entertainment – is a true representation of our world, our beliefs, and our experience.
I know how gratifying it is not only to work in film but to be acknowledged by peers; producing 9 to 5 was an opportunity that I valued precisely because it’s so rarely in the hands of women. Join me in celebrating the work of these extraordinary filmmakers, and sign WMC’s petition to ensure a longer list of women at next year’s Oscars – there’s a long road ahead, and loads of work to be done. You can count on Women’s Media Center to be there when that celluloid ceiling finally shatters.
Jane Fonda focuses the bulk of her time on activism and advocacy on environmental issues, human rights, and the empowerment of women and girls. In 1995, she founded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP.) In 2000 she produced a film with the International Women’s Health Coalition, entitled Generation 2000: Changing Girls’ Realities.