Support for movies, television and books that exemplify women and girls’ perspectives is not just about being recognized at award shows. The Geena Davis Institute has found the portrayal of women and girls in media directly impacts how young girls view their own abilities and options. “If they can see it, they can be it,” Davis has said, noting that the first step to gaining gender equality and equal opportunity is allowing young girls to imagine any role, job and life that they want for themselves. One of the biggest barriers for women reaching the highest levels of elected office is the perception of female leaders. The first step has to be normalizing the idea of female leaders across all fields — whether elected, appointed or fictional.
In her 2019 Golden Globes acceptance speech, Regina King commited to reaching gender parity in all the work she produces over the next two years, and then added, “I challenge anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries, I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity to do the same.” King’s challenge should be taken up: Until we acknowledge the problem and commit to correcting it, we will never reach gender parity, in film or politics or business. Until our culture, norms and institutions begin to value women, their work, achievements and perspectives as inherently equal to men, we must actively support the female filmmakers and storytellers who are producing female-driven stories. While women directors were shut out of the 2020 Oscar nominations, RepresentWomen would like to introduce our own ballot for the Best Women-Directed Films of 2019, and urge you to rank your favorites.