After spending a delicious, quiet day writing at the desk in our hotel room, we took Harvey and Daphna to see Hugh Jackman’s Broadway show. Wow!
He is the epitome of a consummate showman. I like his work as an actor. But his singing and dancing and interaction with the audience is really special. Richard (a hard sell when it comes to theatre) said it was the most enjoyable evening of musical theatre he’d ever seen. Jackman goes out into the audience, brought a dude named Ed (in jeans) up on the stage and got him to sing; as “Man From Oz,” dressed in gold lame, he went into an upper box and sang from a guy’s lap.
He had a wonderful section about Australia with indigenous performers and talked about Nomad Two Worlds, a non-profit that works with aboriginals, their culture and community and work in crisis zones like Japan and Haiti.
It was a wonderful evening. But, speaking of evenings, I cannot believe I forgot to write about the fantastic fundraiser we had on Thursday night for The Women’s Media Center. It was a HUGE success, raising lots of money, bringing together a house full of women powerhouses, Sheryl Sandberg, Lekha Singh, Arianna Huffington, Victoria Jackson, Pat Mitchell, and many others. My pal Wanda Sykes, was the very funny M.C. Awards were given to outstanding and brave journalists and media women. I presented to CBS correspondent, Lara Logan, who was sexually assaulted in Egypt during the uprising and had the guts to talk about it. Many female correspondents who work in conflict zones are assaulted but—out of shame, fear for their jobs, and retribution —stay silent. Lara spoke up and it has made a difference for other women, giving them the courage to speak. Gloria Steinem said, at one point, the media bosses say “’we don’t want to send women into conflict zones because they may get hurt.’ I’ll feel okay about that when they say, ‘we don’t want to send men into conflict zones because they may get hurt!’” At which point, Wanda (who was sitting next to me) grabbed my knee and almost yelled, “I get it, Jane! Now I get it!” Gloria has that remarkable way of finding just the right words to help us all ‘get it.’
The wonderful Soledad O’Brian received an award and spoke movingly. Maggie Wilderotter, Chair and CEO of Frontiers Media, gave a really impressive speech in accepting her Media Woman of the Year Award.
For those who don’t know us, The Women’s Media Center works to make women and girls visible and powerful in the media. We do it by promoting women as subjects and decision-makers within the media, training women and girls so they are media-ready and media-savvy, exposing sexism in the media, and creating innovative new media and original content. One of our programs is called “Name it, Change it,” pointing to the fact that we can never change anything in the world unless we recognize what it is and call out its name.
Media is a central part of our culture, forming our consciousness, telling us much about who we are and how we are supposed to be in the world. If women are denigrated through sexism or simply omitted from the discussion; if the media does not see the issues that impact our lives from a woman’s perspective as well as a man’s, if women don’t see themselves reflected equally and wholly in the media we will be disadvantaged and the culture in general will be diminished and it will be far harder to solve our problems. It’s not just a question of having female faces as newscasters (though that’s important), but right now, the people who decide what stories will be told and from what perspective are almost all men. Behind the scenes, in positions of heft, women make up only 3% of the jobs. This is just Wrong! The WMC works to change this. Check out our website.