Is it possible for 50 women to radically transform the realm of media and entertainment, in order to make the industry more equitable and to diversify the stories told on screen?
Take The Lead, a nonprofit dedicated to gender parity in leadership by 2025, believes it is indeed possible — and Mount Saint Mary’s University is partnering with the group to advance its efforts. That partnership is most notably taking place on two fronts.
This spring, Take The Lead’s four-month intensive leadership and movement-building program empowered a cohort of “50 Women Who Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment.” The trainings took place at Mount Saint Mary’s Doheny Campus in downtown Los Angeles, and provided emerging women leaders in media and entertainment (selected through a nomination process) with real-world tools, skill-building exercises and connections that will help create a network of leaders across the industry who are equipped to build a more just and equal world.
Why did Take The Lead chose this industry to begin its leadership development campaign? “Because media and entertainment define American culture with the stories they tell — or don’t tell,” said Amber Nelson, Take The Lead’s leadership ambassador program director. “Changing the storytellers changes everything.”
Read more about Take The Lead’s leadership development approach in a partner spotlight inside the 2018 edition of Collectif, an online anthology of original writings and research by MSMU faculty, students and partners.
Nicole Haggard, PhD, assistant professor of film, media and communication at Mount Saint Mary’s, was one of the women selected to participate in Take The Lead’s initial cohort. Haggard founded the Center for Women in Hollywood and serves on the board of the Center for Restorative Works. She also co-authored a paper in this year’s Collectif journal on “Women in Hollywood: The Ongoing Fight for Equality.”
Collectif is published annually by the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s, and the Center is the other prong in the University’s partnership with Take The Lead.
Led by Director Emerald Archer, PhD, the Center will provide a researched assessment of the effectiveness of the “50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment” curriculum so that the program can be improved in future iterations to ensure women are getting the most out of the experience. The assessment, which includes focus groups and survey analysis, started in January 2018 and will conclude in July 2019, culminating in a white paper co-authored by Archer and a Take The Lead researcher.
To learn more about the work of MSMU’s Center for the Advancement of Women, read the resources and research available at msmu.edu/CAW. For info on the Mount’s own film and media programs, check out the University’s baccalaureate Film, Media and Communications department as well as the Mount’s Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television & Photography.
To learn more about Take The Lead’s “50 Women Can” program, visit 50womencan-media.com.