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Sesame Street gender stereotyping reports

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In July, 1971, after the end of Sesame Street's second season, the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women called for a boycott of the General Foods Corporation, which had offered financial support for Sesame Street's outreach programs. In a letter to the President of the Post Division of General Foods, a representative from NOW wrote, "We insist that a representative of the National Organization for Women be retained to review all program plans and scripts before they enter production for Sesame Street. The person hired for this position must be approved by the Board of Directors of New York City NOW."

In response, the Children's Television Workshop contracted with two members of NOW, Susan Chase and Cynthia Eaton, to watch episodes of Sesame Street and send regular reports about how the show could improve its portrayal of women and girls. Chase and Eaton sent 24 reports over six months, from October 1971 to April 1972. The tone of the reports was hopeful, but often disappointed with what Chase and Eaton saw as a lack of significant progress.

The relationship between CTW and NOW ended in April 1972 with a letter from Joan Ganz Cooney to NOW president Wilma Scott Heide. Excerpts from this letter are quoted in the 2008 book Street Gang, p. 213-215.

Report #1: October 28, 1971

Report #2

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