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The Oscars Gender Equality J. Walter Thompson

Lack of gender diversity in the Oscars could have far reaching consequences for women globally

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By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

February 26, 2016 | 3 min read

Discussions surrounding this year’s Oscars have been dominated by the fact that the nominees are predominantly white males and the lack of female role models could have long term effects on society and the progress of women, according to new research.

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Global research from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and J. Walter Thompson Company looked at how female role models impact the lives of women around the world.

The survey of 4,300 women reported that 90 per cent of women globally feel that female role models in film or TV are important. Six in ten (61 per cent) of the respondents said female role models in film and TV have been influential in their lives and 58 per cent said that women have been inspired to be more ambitious or assertive.

The survey also showed that one in nine globally, rising as high as one-in-four in Brazil, revealed that positive female role models had given them the courage to leave an abusive relationship.

Geena Davis, founder and chair of Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media said: “women are seriously under-represented across nearly all sectors of society around the globe, not just on-screen, but for the most part we’re simply not aware of the extent. And media images exert a powerful influence in creating and perpetuating our unconscious biases."

Rachel Pashley, global planner at J. Walter Thompson added: “The combination of existing research and the new findings from our global research prove that the lack of female role models on film and TV has been trivialised for too long – the statistics around abusive relationships in particular brings the importance of the issue into stark contrast. This is a real issue with real societal impact around the globe.

“Saying anything is possible isn’t as powerful as seeing that anything is possible. It’s about setting a precedent; if girls don’t see physicists, racing cars drivers and chief executives on screen, how are they expected to want to be physicists, racing cars drivers and chief executives? By shining a light on this issue when the world is watching, we can start to affect real and significant change.”

The Oscars Gender Equality J. Walter Thompson

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