Portrait Melissa Silverstein

Melissa Silverstein



"If you don’t interrupt it, you allow it."​

Meet the gamechangers. From the microcosm of film sets to global movements, we will explore the moments when people reject the current reality. What do we really need to change in order for a genuine cultural shift to happen? How has intimacy coordination changed the way we look at safety and transparency on set? How do we battle existing toxic structures?


Melissa Silverstein is the founder and publisher of Women and Hollywood, an initiative and website that educates, advocates, and agitates for gender diversity and inclusion in Hollywood and the global film industry. She is a speaker and consultant with extensive expertise in the area of women and Hollywood. She is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College which is a weekend of inspiring films that tell the extraordinary stories of fierce and fearless female leaders. The 10th annual festival took place in February 2020.

She recently launched the Girls Club – a community for women creatives, culture-changers and story-tellers to connect, create, network, advocate, support and redefine entertainment. In 2018, Melissa was named to Variety’s New York Power list and in 2016, she received the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award from the Ms. Foundation for Women. In 2015, she was selected to be a film envoy for the American Film Showcase, the major film diplomacy program of the U.S. Department of State. In 2013, she published the first book from Women and Hollywood, In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing, which is a compilation of over 40 interviews that have appeared on the site.

Melissa has written for numerous publications including: The Washington Post, NY Times, The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg and her work has been featured on CNN, the BBC as well as in Newsweek, Salon, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, NY Times, and many other publications. She was a contributor to The Tattooed Girl: The Enigma of Stieg Larsson and the Secrets Behind the Most Compelling Thriller of Our Time. 

Previous experience includes work on high profile public education campaigns such as Take Our Daughters to Work Day, and she was the founding project director for The White House Project. Prior to that was the Chief of Staff at the Ms. Foundation for Women.