April 26, 2019 • By Jessie Yount
When “Thelma and Louise” hit the big screen, the media proclaimed: this changes everything. Years later, commentators said the same thing about female-led films such as “The Hunger Games,” “Rogue One” and “Wonder Woman.”
But according to award-winning actress Geena Davis, and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, research shows that gender representation in film has barely improved since 1946, and male leads outnumber female leads by two to one.
In her latest film, “This Changes Everything,” Davis hopes to bring attention to the gender disparity in the film industry, and, she’s enlisted an A-list cast including Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon, Tiffany Haddish, Sandra Oh and Tracee Ellis Ross to do so.
An exclusive showing of “This Changes Everything” will take place during the UCI Paul Merage School of Business’s new executive education course for women occupying, moving into and setting their sights on leadership positions.
Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute, will also present at the Certificate in Women’s Leadership, which will concentrate on the issues, barriers and gendered perceptions that women continue to face in the workplace, and provide women with the tools and strategies to advance their careers.
The Executive Education certificate is offered by the UCI Paul Merage School of Business and will be held June 26 to 28, and it will feature 20 hours of instruction as well as two networking events. Tuition is $2,495 per participant.
Leading the Charge
Until now, there hasn’t been a great emphasis on grooming female leaders in Orange County. The Merage School is paving the way and setting the standard by creating the opportunity for women to learn from and support each other in a collaborative, welcome and safe environment.
The certificate will feature presentations from Maya Young, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at the Merage School; Maritza Salazar Campos, Assistant Professor of Organization and Management at the Merage School; and Kimberly Roush, Executive Coach, ForbesSpeaker and Founder, All-Star Executive Coaching.
Those professors are just a few of the female faculty at the Merage School, which was ranked by the Financial Times as having the highest percentage of female faculty among business schools.
“It’s a great source of pride to work at the No. 1 institution for tenured female faculty in the world. It’s not something that happened overnight, it’s the result of inclusive decisions across many years,” said Young.
“The Merage School has demonstrated a sustained investment in women as thought leaders, and that is what makes the Merage School a great place to host this program. It’s an extension of their larger commitment to women in business.”
An Optimistic Outlook
The certificate will teach women how to overcome misperceptions and biases that may present themselves as barriers in the workplace, so that they can embrace their authentic selves and flourish in leadership positions.
“Many are unaware of how men and women approach virtually every aspect of business differently –– how we conduct meetings, how we network, how we communicate and how we lead,” said Dr. Shawn Andrews, Lecturer of Organization and Management and CEO of Andrews Research Institute, who will present during the certificate.
It’s not about the right or wrong approach to business, but differences that start at birth are often carried into the workplace. Andrews will draw on her book, “The Power of Perception: Leadership, Emotional Intelligence and the Gender Divide,” when discussing these issues.
But it’s up to men and women to work together to overcome these differences and communicate, so that that both genders can be their authentic selves in the workplace.
In addition, women need to overcome self-doubt in order to reach their full potential, according to Janet Ioli, Leadership & Change Expert and Executive Coach, who will offer a presentation via recording prior to the certificate. Only after acquiring confidence that isn’t fragile and situation-dependent can women redefine power and act with a bigger sense of purpose and service to others.
By teaching women about these challenges, and giving them tools and solutions to work through them, Andrews and Ioli strive to help women realize their full potential, as so many others are already doing.
“Women are awakening to the innate power they have to influence change and impact the world in a greater way,” said Ioli. “They can rewrite the outdated rules that equate power with winning and domination. They are at a tipping point of great opportunity to redefine what it means to be powerful.”