When told about the nature of Girl Improved, a group of girl writers, producers, and directors creating girl-empowering plays, the question that may come to mind for you is, “Why? We already have plenty of strong female characters these days. Think about Katniss Everdeen, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Bella Swan. Plenty of women get lots of chances to star on the stage, and the big screen. What is there to improve?”

While it’s true that we have come a very long way from when women weren’t allowed to vote or own land, there’s still a shortage of independent female role models in stories. Movies feature almost three times as many male characters than female on average, and more and more movies are flunking the simple Bechdel test. Sure, we have characters like Katniss, Buffy, and- Bella Swan? Are you serious? All she does in any of the Twilight movies is repeatedly criticize her own appearance, simper over her two romantic interests, and wait for them to save the day.

The point is, for every female character who is amazing (or amazingly evil), there are dozens more bland roles where women are only put in stories as damsels in distress or something sexy for men to ogle. In short, many of the girls in our media just don’t feel real. We at Girl Improved want to see more smart, brave, and complex women in plays… So we’re creating them! We’re trying to make better stories for girls like us. Maybe someday the world won’t need Girl Improved- but until then, we’re going to keep fighting for a better future.