In this week’s Wednesday 5: Through poetry, three brilliant young women share the challenges that our  young people face; Katrina Adams takes the helm of the U.S.T.A.; BuzzFeed asks where the real women are in advertisements; Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols shares her meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr.; and the Women’s Media Center releases a report on the absence of women Oscar nominees.



“Somewhere in America”

In this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you the performance on The Queen Latifah Show of three brilliant young women—Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, and Zariya Allen—warning us about the challenges our youth are facing. These three girls are part of  Get Lit, an organization investing in literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs in Southern California.


Katrina Adams Takes Helm of U.S.T.A. After a Long Ascent

Women continue to make strides in professional tennis, both on and off the court. In a recent article in The New York Times, we learned about the remarkable trajectory of the United States Tennis Association’s (U.S.T.A.) new chairman, chief executive and president, Katrina Adams. She is the first African-American and former professional player to hold those roles for the organization. Read more about her incredible journey as a young African-American girl growing up in Chicago and watching Arthur Ashe break the color barrier at Wimbledon to now running the national tennis organization.



Real Women Take to the Screen

We love this new BuzzFeed video that asks us to question why we don see more images of “real” women in traditional advertisements. The video shows a diversity of women, and the video’s narrator asks us to think about the following questions: 

“Why does it feel so different to see pictures of realistic women? Why aren’t we seeing women we recognize, and why wasn’t I paying more attention to this before?”
“Where are the women who sweat through their femininity? Girls who build things for others who can’t?”
“When we condone airbrushed faces and Photoshopped bodies, what are we saying about ourselves? That our strengths aren’t strong enough? Our feelings not deep enough? Our cheers not loud enough?”



“Star Trek” Actress Nichelle Nichols on Meeting Martin Luther King, Jr.

Making the rounds on social media just in time for our celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., day this past Monday is a beautiful and moving video by Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols. She talks about her meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who happened to be a dedicated Star Trek fan. Nichols was thinking of leaving the show, and she shared this with Dr. King. He urged her not to leave the show, reminding her about the importance of her role to the way that our country, embroiled in racial segregation, saw African-Americans.



The Absence of Women Oscar Nominees

Yesterday, our Alexandra MacAaron wrote poignantly about the need for change at the Oscars. This week the Women’s Media Center also released a statistical breakdown documenting the disparities. Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said, “The stark disparity in the Oscar nominations this year—particularly in the categories of Directing and Writing—demonstrates that male voices and perspectives are largely responsible for what we see on screen.” The cnter’s report found:

  • Across 19 non-acting categories, 149 men are nominated versus 35 women.
  • There are seven Oscar categories with no women nominated (directing, writing—original screenplay, writing—adapted screenplay, cinematography, original score, visual effects, sound mixing).
  • Since 2012, only 19% of all non-acting Oscar nominations have been for women.

Read the full report here and the infographic here.

Join the conversation

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  • roz warren January 22, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    MLK was a Trekkie? Who knew?

  • Diane Dettmann January 21, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I agree, Dr. Pat. The “old boy’s club” seems to have branches of their organization in all sorts of areas in our society. As a woman, I get very frustrated and angry when I think of Hollywood, professional sports and other areas that are predominately controlled by men for the purpose of making money. Refusing to support male dominated activities and seeking alternatives that support women makes a lot of sense. Thank you for your insights!

  • Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. January 21, 2015 at 9:05 am

    The options women have for changing these dismal statistics in the world of media are few and perhaps somewhat unpleasant for most of us. The simplest option is to refuse to watch films without at least one of these: female directors, actors of substance, or writers. At least one of the three..

    We can continue to write about the issue on sites read largely by women but that won’t change the old boy’s club of Hollywood. These people only understand one thing: box office receipts. So, we can go to films that have women in central and important roles, that are directed by a woman, or are written by a woman. I don’t see any other options.