Laurie A. Westley is a Senior Vice President at the Public Policy, Advocacy and the Research Institute of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
When it comes to media, we have so much to be grateful for. The media has educated, inspired, and entertained us for generations. The revolution of new technologies such as social media, handheld devices, and interactive media has literally changed our world.
For today’s girls, that means more media – up to 10 hours of recreational media a day – in many more forms and places. Many of those media messages and images, especially messages about women and girls, can both positively and negatively affect girls’ confidence, body image, relationships, and leadership aspirations.
As media and policy leaders, we have a responsibly to ensure we are promoting positive images.
This week the Girl Scouts of the USA joined forces with the National Association of Broadcasters, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and The Creative Coalition to launch Healthy MEdia Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls. Co-chairing the commission are Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning Actor and Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC Commissioner.
Our Commission recognizes that as children’s media use continues to increase, all youth – both girls and boys – would benefit from positive, balanced images of girls and women.
Now is the time to begin a National Conversation on this topic, and we’re excited that Healthy MEdia will lead the way.
Healthy MEdia will:
- Host the National Discussion on best practices to promote positive and balanced images of girls and women.
- Convene Industry Leaders, subject matter experts, youth representatives, media leadership, and the creative community to develop a blueprint on how to create a positive media environment for kids.
- Produce concrete recommendations to media and policy leaders.
- Champion media leaders who are promoting positive content and balanced images of girls and women.
- Secure Industry-wide, public commitments to take steps toward positive change.
As the premier leadership organization for girls and a leading authority on their healthy growth and development, Girl Scouts is proud to be leading the charge in raising awareness about the importance of promoting healthy media messages about girls and women.
We are committed to ensure that all youth, not just girls wearing our sash, grow up in an environment that will prepare them to become strong, confident leaders of tomorrow. That’s why this initiative is so very important. We welcome your support and feedback, please visit www.girlscouts.org/healthymedia for more information.