“The media is in a state of great disruption, but despite all of the change, one thing remains the same: the role of women is significantly smaller than that of men in every part of news, entertainment and digital media.” -Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center.
As the mother to two young girls and holder of a Master’s degree in Gender and International Development, Erin Prather Stafford is acutely aware that fixing gender imbalances in the media is key to changing gender disparity everywhere. That’s why she has just launched Girls That Create.
Several years ago, Erin joined the production team for WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. The documentary explores the enduring legacy of Wonder Woman and how powerful women are often portrayed in mainstream media. It also encourages girls to be creators of the media they want to see.
Erin says, “Fast forward to 2019. The need to nourish and inspire girl creators is just as necessary now as it was then. Although women currently comprise half of the U.S. population, mass media continues to show them in much smaller numbers. This underrepresentation is also true for women who are behind the scenes, creating.”
Consider The Numbers
A 2019 report found 69 percent of news wire bylines (AP and Reuters) are snagged by men; 31 percent by women. (Women’s Media Center)
In 2018, women comprised just four percent of directors working on the top 100 films, eight percent on the top 250 films, and 15 percent on the top 500 films. (Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film)
A recent study of 820,000 exhibitions across the public and commercial sectors, only one third were by women artists. (The Art Newspaper)
Another 2019 study on the music industry revealed female songwriters and producers are vastly outnumbered. Across seven years, 12.3 percent of songwriters of the songs were female. More than half (57 percent) of the 633 songs examined did not credit one woman as a songwriter. (USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative)
Erin, a freelance writer and producer, became interested in the media’s portrayal of women while earning her communication degree at St. Edward’s University. This inspired pursuit of her MA from the University of Warwick. She also currently serves on the board for the Women Texas Film Festival.
Girls That Create will have posts and resources for developing creative thinking, boosting confidence, growing skill sets and constructing beneficial environments. The site will also offer practical tips and product reviews.
Erin says that March is the perfect month to launch her new platform. “Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day, SWAN Day - what’s not to love? My goal is for caregivers and girls to find Girls That Create empowering and for the site to help spark future female creators.”