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Director WINs Award for Women

Tired of playing the babe, the bitch, the broad, or the bimbo? Or just tired of watching women play stereotypical roles? Then you might want to attend the Women's Image Network Awards 2005 on Sept. 26.

Founded in 1993 by Phyllis Stuart, the WIN Awards honor media-makers who dispel stereotypes of women in film, television, and advertising. Stuart executive-produces the show each year through the Women's Image Network, a nonprofit company committed to promoting economic and social parity for women. This year, for the first time, the awards will be open to the general public. Stuart hopes male and female actors will attend.

"I couldn't think of a better group of people to support this, because every woman in Hollywood knows what's on the breakdowns. They know what they're reading," said Stuart. "Women do not have to be the one who's pummeled to death in the scene, and then the man comes to the rescue." Over the years, WIN has honored Sarah Jessica Parker for standing up to her man on Sex and the City and J.J. Abrams for creating the kick-ass role of Sydney Bristow on Alias.

This year WIN will present the Chaplin Limelight Award, which honors female directors for originality and innovation, to Gurinder Chadha, who directed sleeper hits Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice and is currently directing the I Dream of Jeannie prequel. WIN will also honor Nike for portraying strong women in its advertising campaigns and Lu Chekowsky for founding a New York advertising agency committed to creating positive images of women.

"The people that we applaud and support and nominate in the awards are also people that are shaping the culture in a very optimistic and positive way. There are some people in this town, men and women, who really believe that women should be included," said Stuart, citing producer Laura Ziskin, Sony Motion Picture Group Chairman Amy Pascal, and former Paramount Pictures Chairman Sherry Lansing as prime examples of progress.

Nominees are selected through a jury process based on submissions from advertising agencies, studios, and networks. Instead of providing blanket nominations to television programs, WIN nominates specific barrier-busting episodes in categories such as animation, comedy, news, and documentary. Actors are nominated for performances by episode, as well, and there are categories to honor the best films directed and produced by women.

"We all want the same thing: economic parity. We all know those statistics of how few women work after a particular age," said Stuart. "Instead of screaming and jumping up and down about how bad it is, let's do something about it. If not me, who? If not you, who? One person can make the difference."

The Women's Image Network Awards 2005, hosted by Kathy Griffin, will take place at the Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Mon. 8 p.m. Sept. 26. Actors will have the opportunity to meet and greet nominees, honorees, and presenters after the ceremony. Tickets are $20; SAG members interested in attending for half price can contact press@thewinawards.com.

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