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Category: Art and Entertainment, Feminism, Girls

Dear Bob, Remember the Women! Love, Molly.

January 31, 2011

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The WMC blog is featuring Progressive Girls’ Voices in dispatches from the Sundance Film Festival, as our girl journalists attend feminist film screenings and interview notable leaders and directors.  Here, Molly O’Donnell shares some ideas for new initiatives with Robert Redford — watch this space for more.

By Molly Kiefer O’Donnell

Molly is a senior at West High School in Salt Lake City, UT. She’s worked with Planned Parenthood for the last two years on campaigns to get comprehensive sex education available to every Utah teen. She plans to continue fighting for women’s rights throughout college and become a gynecologist.

The act of outing oneself on the internet may seem déclassé for some of you, but here goes: I am prone to being pretty starstruck! This became exceedingly evident on Friday when talking with none other than the Great Robert Redford. As someone who was born into the third generation of a crush on him, being able to talk to this man was beyond words. Our group of Progressive Girl Journalists has two big goals: to bring attention to the disparity of women in the media, and to gain training in the field of journalism.

For my third professional interview, the fact that I was swooning and starstruck seems more than acceptable. I was allowed to ask him one question, and my choice was “Does the Sundance Festival have any official initiatives to promote women in the media?” He discussed, in the studly way he does, how many women are in the Sundance Labs and the year the Sundance Film Festival was devoted to women filmmakers. This is all well and good, and I was glad to hear that the Sundance Institute does take women's role in the industry seriously.

Still, there is so much room for new initiatives to showcase women. It's great that Sundance had its “feminist year,” but now it's our role to keep this issue on the front burner every year. Partnering with more groups like the Women’s Media Center to recruit young women would be a big step. If young girls see that prestigious festivals like Sundance actively want to hear their stories, if they see that women can succeed in this field, they will be more likely to have these high aspirations.

The Sundance Institute could also advertise their movies, especially those showcasing empowered women, to a wider audience. More girls viewing (or even knowing about) these films will ensure that their message reaches the target audience. Showing films like Miss Representation is a good start. Let’s keep moving forward.

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