UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. women’s agency is teaming up with actress Geena Davis to support the first global study of how women and girls are portrayed in family films, saying the images have a strong impact on how females see themselves.

Gender representation in film influences the perception of women and girls, their self-esteem and the relationships between the sexes, Lakshmi Puri, acting head of UN Women, said recently.

“We cannot let the negative depiction of women and girls erode the hard gains that have been made on gender equality and women’s empowerment,” Puri said.

U.N. Women said the study will examine the top-grossing international movies in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The Academy Award-winning Davis, who played the first female president in the television series “Commander in Chief,” said the dearth of female characters of substance in the media means children are being taught that girls and women “don’t take up half of the space in the world.”

Results will be released in late 2014.