Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gender equity in the media! Gender equity in the media! Gender equity in media!

Hmmm...if only it were as easy as in Beetlejuice. Actress Geena Davis and a panel of amazingly accomplished people, such as former NASA astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison backed The Ambassador-At-Large Melanne Verveer and the US Delegation to the 55th CSW’s February 22nd briefing. I and my colleague Katey Farldelmann represented our Lehigh group at the briefing. Opening remarks were given by Peggy Kerry and a Q&A session ensued after remarks by Melanie Verveer. Again we heard the focus on science and technology, the importance of mobile phones and bringing their access to 300 million women. But also, other important issues were raised such as cook stoves being a larger killer than malaria in some parts of the world because of the fumes. CEDAW’s US ratification and the 5th WWC were also championed by the group of NGO representatives. A highlight for me was hearing Dr. Jemison support STEM careers for women on the 2-year level as well as on the 4-year or higher level. She emphasized that there is an incredible set of STEM careers with an education of 2 years or less in such fields as biotechnology and aerospace mechanics. Dr. Jemison recounted, “the woman who dressed me in my flight suit was a high school graduate, the first one from her family, yet my life depended on her”. She emphasized that there are important, meaningful careers that women can pursue in the STEM fields on the 2-year level. The need for women technicians is equally important as the need for women engineers.

Finally, Geena Davis talked about the research of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media. It was refreshing to hear a media icon focus on issues in the media rather than issues outside of their area of expertise. Check out a video I took of her discussing her gender research. And if anyone is interested, I have an audio recording of the entire briefing, just post a comment or email me: tnj210[at]

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