Female leaders unhappy with media portrayal

Posted: 03/27/2012

How women are depicted in the media is at odds with how women see themselves and with how they wish to be seen, panellists a Law Society Equity event concluded.

Experts from a range of organizations, as well as two high school students, considered how best to encourage women’s rights amid a near-constant deluge of degrading media images and advertising messages about women.

“You’re out there searching for a guiding light and it’s not always there,” student Mercedes Simon-Lariviere, said.

A trailer for the documentary, Miss Representation, was featured before panellists at the March 7 event began answering questions posed by moderator and CBC Radio host, Marcia Young.

The film, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film festival and gained considerable traction on social media sites, juxtaposes interviews with well-known female business leaders with clips of popular television shows and movies wherein women appear degraded physically or sexually.

Law Society Treasurer, Laurie Pawlitza, thanked the panellists for helping to further debate around an important topic, pointing to the evolving role of women both in society, generally, and from within the legal profession.

Treasurer Pawlitza acknowledged that Ontario’s Bar has welcomed and helped cultivate many female leaders. Treasurer Pawlitza closed the evening with words of encouragement for young girls and women considering their futures.

“I’d like to reiterate that your power and value lies in your intellect. Not in your age and your physical body.”

The event, part of the Law Society’s Public Education, Equality and Rule of Law series, was hosted in partnership with the Feminist Legal Analysis Section of the Ontario Bar Association, the Women’s Law Association of Ontario, the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund.