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About the Women's Steering Committee

The Women's Steering Committee (WSC) was created to advance the professional interests of its members, and to heighten their visibility and career opportunities in the entertainment industry.

The WSC currently promotes diversity through sponsoring networking events, screenings and seminars. The committee fosters relationships between the members to provide support, mentoring and networking opportunities. The WSC is continually evolving new concepts to elevate awareness of the strengths of its members.

All women members of the Guild are invited to attend WSC meetings and events and to share in the benefits that come from cooperative activity.
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History of the Women's Steering Committee

The DGA Women's Steering Committee was created in 1979, when six female members of the Guild -- Susan Bay, Nell Cox, Joelle Dobrow, Dolores Ferraro, Victoria Hochberg and Lynne Littman -- convened to research the facts surrounding employment opportunities for women directors.

On March 1, 1980, they presented a report to the National Board of the DGA that highlighted the under-utilized talents of women directors and suggested ways to improve the situation. The Committee continued to grow, with the support of the Guild, and by 1986, a new generation of members, formally organized as the DGA Women's Steering Committee (WSC), began to explore new ways to achieve their goals. Realizing the importance of communication and interaction, in 1992 the WSC held its first informal employment mixer for women members, as well as other industry professionals.

The continuing mission of the Women's Steering Committee is to represent the interests and needs of the women members of the DGA; develop strategies that help women achieve greater access and visibility within the industry; pursue ways to improve employment opportunities; and create a forum where women members can build work relationships and enhance their skills.

The Committee now sponsors well attended annual employment mixers for television and feature film which bring together producers, production executives and other industry professionals with the membership. The WSC designed the Director Mentor/Mentee Program, which enables women and ethnic minority director members to receive career guidance from well established directors. Another important endeavor has been the Santa Monica City TV Program, designed to develop and showcase the directing talents of women members through the production of shorts for community organizations.

The WSC's many other accomplishments include various clinics, events featuring industry speakers, The WSC Cafe, quarterly Roundtable Meetings, creation of the DGA Women and Ethnic Minority Members Contact Lists for Employers and the formation and implementation of the Fellowship Program. From its exposure of the equity problem in the 1970s to its challenge for change in the 1980s to its spectrum of activities in the 1990s, the Women's Steering Committee has played a dynamic role within the Guild and the industry as a whole.

For more information about the DGA Women's Steering Committee, please contact DGA Executive in Charge of DEI, Breannah Oppenhuizen, at (310) 289-5377 or via email at

DGA Members: Please log in for meeting times and other Women's Steering Committee information.

Breannah Oppenhuizen
Executive in Charge of DEI
(310) 289-5377
Committee Chairs
Director Category Representative
Liz Ryan
AD/UPM Category Representative
No Photo Available
AD/SM/PA Category Representative
DGA Diversity & Inclusion Mission Statement
Video: Founding of
the WSC

The DGA Women's Steering Committee was created in 1979, when six female members of the Guild – Susan Bay, Nell Cox, Joelle Dobrow, Dolores Ferraro, Victoria Hochberg and Lynne Littman – convened to research the facts surrounding employment opportunities for women directors.

Mimi Deaton

Associate Director Mimi Deaton discusses her 30-year career in the multi-camera format (The Facts of Life, Martin, Reba, The Neighborhood), her Guild service as a member of the Western AD/SM/PA Council for 23 years and her recognition by the Guild with the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award.

Mira Nair

Mira Nair discusses her 35-plus-year directorial career, highlighting her documentaries (Jama Masjid Street Journal, India Cabaret), independent features (Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding), and studio features (Vanity Fair, Amelia, Queen of Katwe).

Lee Shallat Chemel

Television director and producer Lee Shallat Chemel (The Middle, Gilmore Girls, Murphy Brown) discusses her long career directing episodic comedy, how she got her start on Family Ties, and the importance of her Guild service.

Penelope Spheeris

Penelope Spheeris discusses her career as a filmmaker, directing documentaries like The Decline of Western Civilization and studio films such as Wayne's World. Spheeris talks about growing up in her father’s traveling carnival, as well as major influences in her life, including Janis Joplin and punk rock music.