The screening of the 2011 Sundance documentary film “Miss Representation” and a lecture by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film’s writer, director and producer, will be held at the University of St. Thomas next week.
Following Newsom’s remarks, a question-and-answer session with the audience will be moderated by Shakira Onwuachi of St. Thomas’ University Lectures Committee.
The film and lecture are sponsored by the University Lectures Committee and both are free and open to the public.
Named by Newsweek last year as one of “150 Women Who Shake the World,” Newsom says the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film, she continued, challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.
She notes that while women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3 percent of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65 percent of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.
In addition to providing facts and statistics, “Miss Representation” includes stories from teenage girls and interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics such as Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Geena Davis, Dianne Feinstein, Jane Fonda, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem.
Coinciding with the distribution of her film, Newsom launched MissRepresentation.org, a call-to-action website designed to help women and girls realize their full potential. She also founded and is CEO of Girls Club Entertainment, a production company established to develop independent films that focus on women’s issues.
This year, Newsom produced the Sundance Award-winning documentary, “The Invisible War,” about rape in the U.S. military. She now is working on a documentary film series called “The Mask You Live In.”
As an actress, she has appeared in films and television shows, including “In the Valley of Elah,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” “Life” and “Mad Men.”
She serves on the Girl Scouts’ Healthy Media: Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls; on the advisory board for Emerge America; and as an honorary board member of the International Museum of Women.
Newsom graduated with honors from Stanford University and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. She resides in the San Francisco area with her husband, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and their two children.