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DENVER (CBS4) – The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is celebrating 25 years of service to improving the lives and women and girls and they marked their silver anniversary with Academy Award winning actor Geena Davis delivering the keynote at Friday’s luncheon.
CBS4′s Gloria Neal sat down with the actor before the luncheon to learn more about how Davis is using her celebrity to help improve the lives of women in Colorado.
Davis has a passion for making sure girls and women are portrayed in strong, effective roles. She says the message of how women are portrayed in the media is received by girls at a very early age.
“Girls as young as 6 years old now are self sexualizing. They’re looking at themselves through the male gaze and deciding they need to be sexy and thin and pretty and everything; it’s horrifying,” Davis said.
She talked about how she came up with the name of her organization — See Jane.
“When my daughter was two, she’s 10 now, I started watching G-rated videos and things with her,” Davis said. “I was shocked to see how few female characters there were.”
Davis says her kids now get it.
“Talking about it with them while they’re watching, actually, is a really effective tool because there’s nothing to tell them this isn’t actually accurate,” she said. “Women can’t be that skinny in real life.”
Louise Atkinson, CEO and president of the Women’s Foundation, says that’s why Davis was chosen as the keynote for their 25th anniversary luncheon.
“Her voice advances the cause of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, clearly,” Atkinson said. “Her influence for women and girls crosses all types of boundaries.”
Atkinson says 6,000 girls don’t graduate from school in Colorado every year, which is why Davis’ voice is so important.
“What Geena is trying to do, which totally aligns with what we’re trying to do, is to make sure that girls have a very positive self image, confidence, good mentoring; let them reach their full potential,” Atkinson said.
Even though Davis won an Oscar for her performance in “The Accidental Tourist,” it’s “Thelma and Louise” that changed her life and ignited her passion.
“I’m always amazed that we made a film that really inspired women and they feel jazzed and energized and we kill ourselves,” Davis said. “What if we didn’t even kill ourselves? It just shows how few opportunities we give women to feel really invested in the female character.”
Davis plans to continue working with See Jane and improving gender portrayals in children’s media.
The Women’s Foundation has made huge progress with getting Senate Bill 22 passed, which allows women to receive raises at work without having that raise decrease their child care assistance.