UMass Boston News

Miss Representation to Mass Representation: Educating for Change

LEADING WOMEN: A Speaker and Film Series on Women’s Public Leadership

The Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy is pleased to host an event screening the documentary Miss Representation, by Jennifer Siebel Newsom.  Miss Representation premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.

Following the film, guests are invited to stay for a panel discussion on the relationship between media depictions of women and women's political leadership in the United States. Confirmed panelists include: Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, Executive Director of MASSVOTE; UMass Boston Political Science Professor Erin O'Brien; Christina Knowles, Political Action Committee Chair of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women;  and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus Priti Rao.

Watch a clip

About The Film
Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation (90 min; TV-14 DL) uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film 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.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. 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% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective. (Source:

McCormack Graduate School's Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy in collaboration with UMass Boston's College of Advancing and Professional Studies, the Department of Women's Studies, the Department of Performing Arts, and the Political Science Department.

Barbara Lee Family Foundation, Boston Commission on the Status of Women, Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women, Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, Emerge Massachusetts, Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, MassVOTE, The G.I.R.L.S Project.

For more information, contact Denise Schultz at 617-287-5541


Learn more about our graduate certificate programs

Women in Politics and Public Policy, a nine-month program that prepares students to serve at all levels of government, take on leadership roles in non-profit organizations, hold elected office, and pursue advanced degrees, most frequently in law and public policy.

Women's Leadership in a Global Perspective, a one-year, online program designed to educate current and future women leaders on how best to address women’s issues and reduce gender inequalities worldwide.

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