Washington Area Women's Foundation

Five Women Who Transformed Media in 2012

women_Media“You cannot be what you cannot see,” is one of those adages that works in a lot of contexts, none more so than inspiring girls, young adults and women to believe that it’s possible to follow their dreams and reach their full potential. Here are our five favorite moments in 2012 where women and girls stepped into the media spotlight and inspired us.

5. Julia Bluhm changes the face of the magazine industry. 14-year-old Julia started an online petition calling for Seventeen magazine to print one unaltered photo spread per month – no airbrushing and a realistic portrayal of what girls actually look like. Julia and a group of teen girls delivered the 84,000 signatures they collected to Seventeen in New York City. After the petition was delivered, the editor-in-chief of the magazine pledged to feature pictures of real girls and models who are healthy.

4.The television show Scandal. ABC’s hit show about a crisis management team was developed by Shonda Rimes, one of the most successful black women in entertainment. The main character, a strong, smart business owner, is played by Kerry Washington, making Scandal the first primetime network drama that a black woman has starred in since 1974’s Get Christie Love.

3. Having it all – or not. For the third year in-a-row, The Atlantic lit a fuse and watched an article about women take off. In 2010, Hanna Rosin proclaimed it “The End of Men.” Last year, Kate Bolick wrote about “All the Single Ladies” (which is reportedly being adapted for television). And in 2012, Anne-Marie Slaughter said it’s time to stop fooling ourselves in “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.” Between them, the articles have generated tens-of-thousands of comments, social media recommendations, and response blog posts. They’ve sparked new conversations about everything from marriage to children and work supports to glass ceilings. Whether you agree with the authors’ theses or not, it’s a new opportunity to have discussions about issues that impact specifically women.

2. Marissa Mayer becomes the head of Yahoo! In July, Mayer was named the president and CEO of Yahoo!, becoming the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company and one of the most powerful businesswomen in America. Her ascension to the top of Yahoo! followed closely by her announcement that she was pregnant further opened up conversations about working women, their families, and support systems that enable them to juggle their responsibilities.

1. Candy Crowley moderates a presidential debate. In October, CNN’s political correspondent and Sunday morning talk show host became the first woman in 20 years to moderate a presidential debate. She was given rave reviews and so was ABC’s Martha Raddatz, who helmed the vice presidential debate.

Who would you add to this list? Which women in the spotlight inspired you in 2012?

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