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CBS launches program to promote 'female empowerment,' professional growth

CBS is putting new efforts toward helping women within the company grow professionally.The initiative, called ...

Posted: Feb. 21, 2018 8:23 PM
Updated: Feb. 21, 2018 8:23 PM

CBS is putting new efforts toward helping women within the company grow professionally.

The initiative, called EYE Speak in reference to the CBS logo, will promote "female empowerment" and "help forge a path of growth and opportunity" for women at CBS and in "the entertainment industry as a whole," according to a release.

The effort is receiving support from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the #SeeHer campaign, which work to improve the portrayal of women and girls in the media.

As a whole, CBS TV Studios-produced content is awash with much-lauded female characters and creators -- from Gina Rodriguez ("Jane the Virgin") and Rachel Bloom ("Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) on the CW to Sonequa Martin-Green of "Star Trek: Discovery" and Christine Baranski ("The Good Fight") on streaming platform CBS All Access.

CBS, home of "Madam Secretary," also recently announced the impending return of "Murphy Brown," one of TV's most iconic and powerful female voices.

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But the stats weren't always sunny.

The network came under fire from critics in 2016 when it announced a slate of seven new shows, six of which were led by white men.

Then-network president Glenn Geller admitted, "we need to do better."

That summer, the network added 11 new female and minority series regulars to its lineup and later announced the launch of a diversity casting initiative.

In 2017, CBS premiered another slate of all-male-led new shows, one of which had a person of color in the lead role.

Still, CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl has said the network is "making progress."

Progress is seemingly at the core of EYE Speak's mission. CBS said it plans to host events throughout the year to foster the professional growth of female employees, including mentorship programs and fireside chats with executives.

CBS will also host a kick-off event in Los Angeles in March, featuring Maria Bello ("NCIS"), Sara Ramirez ("Madam Secretary"), Martin-Green and Rodriguez.

The female cast and co-creator of "The Good Fight" will also host a panel in celebration of the show's second season premiere.

"I am extremely proud to be associated with 'EYE Speak' because it addresses my passion to help women at CBS learn, grow and flourish," said Jo Ann Ross, CBS Corp.'s president and chief advertising revenue officer. "It's a wonderful opportunity to continue building on the positive impact that the CBS Women's Networking Group and other women's initiatives have already had on so many."

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