Last week, a meeting of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women was held and a panel conversation opened up discussion between female activists and leaders, specifically focused on “closing the gender gap” in the “pop culture world”. The event was hosted by Pop Culture Hero Coalition and the United Nations Association, San Diego Chapterfeatured were comics writer Gail Simone, Women’s March National Co-Chair Carmen Perez, Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca as well as many others.
The focus of the panel was on the ways in which TV, film, comics, and wider pop culture can help change “employment practice” and work toward closing the gender gap in career fields and more.
Gail Simone laid out what needs to be included in comics in order to reach a full “potential audience”:
One of the first things I said coming into the comics industry is that you guys are nuts, purposely cutting out 50 percent of your potential audience. And the material has to be about all women: transgender, women of color, women with disabilities, gender fluid, different ethnicities, backgrounds. Whoever you are, you should see that represented.
The panelists also discussed presenting racial diversity to create social change, looking for the “voices that are missing” in these fields.
Carmen Perez said:
We can not only talk about diversity and inclusion, but we must also seek those voices that are missing. Whether you are producing movies or putting together panels, we need those voices represented. That is something we can all be more diligent about.
Lauren Duca, writer at Teen Vogue, agreed, saying that diversity needs to be “in the structure” and “in the newsrooms” that shape culture. For example, pecific representation needs to be there for voices to be authentic rather than simply part of an attempted coverage of diverse perspectives.
Chase Masterson, founder of Pop Culture Hero Coalition and actress featured in Star Trek DS9 and Doctor Who Big Finish, produced and moderated the panel.
She commented on the importance of this panel thus:
Bringing pop culture icons such as Batgirl and Wonder Woman Author Gail Simone, Women’s March Co-Chair Carmen Perez and others to their first UN-related event is an unprecedented pop culture / social justice connection. Through this event, we have both led and learned crucial lessons about inclusivity. Equality both deserves and requires a willingness to listen and empathize with women of all races and backgrounds — and only together can we truly create systemic change. That’s why our motto is ‘We love superheroes. Why not be one?’
Panel discussions also talked about the economic aspects of women’s roles in media, as well as strategies for female empowerment through television and film based on research.
To learn more about the Pop Culture Hero Coalition, you can find their website right here.