The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is a US non-profit research organization that researches gender representation in media and advocates for equal representation of women. The institute is currently headquartered at Mount Saint Mary’s University , in Los Angeles, California.
Geena has been on the talk show circuit talking about her institute. Today on the View, she talked about why she started it; many layers, but it began with her own young daughter after watching a children’s program that was not promoting girl’s voices and instead followed the same old dialog where girls weren’t important and mostly ignored. WORDS MATTER!
Why Did Geena Davis Create the Institute and See Jane?
While watching children’s entertainment with her young daughter, Geena Davis was astounded by the dearth of female characters. Fueled to take action, she commissioned the largest research project on gender in film and television ever undertaken, conducted by Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. The research confirmed the disparity she observed: in family films, there is only one female character for every three male characters. In group scenes, only 17% of the characters are female. The repetitive viewing patterns of children ensure that these negative stereotypes are ingrained and imprinted over and over.
If she can see it, she can be it!
How the Institute is Making an Impact
- The Institute has amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment, which spans more than 20 years. Our research findings are in high demand by companies, NGOs and organizations interested in the empowerment of women and girls, leadership and entrepreneurship.
- The Institute is the go-to resource and thought leader on gender in media. We have effected change at major networks, studios, production companies, guilds and agencies. Our SmartBrief newsletter publishes breaking news, trends, research and insights on Gender in Media from around the world.
- The biennial Geena Davis Institute Symposium on Gender in Media convenes over 300 entertainment industry decision makers, thought leaders and content creators to work toward improving gender equality in children’s media. In a survey following the December 2010 Second Symposium on Gender in Media, more than 90% of attendees stated that the information they learned will influence how they perceive gender balance and stereotypes in their work, and 98% will share and utilize our research findings with their peers and in their companies.
- The Institute continues to work on inspiring and sensitizing the next generation of content creators to focus on gender and equality in children’s media through its partnerships with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences College Television Awards, student filmmakers through our “Guess Who” educational video series, and our educational outreach to middle school students through the Sarasota Film Festival.
This is becoming more evident with more women and “bipoc and “LGB” in all areas of media. And because of “if you see it, you can be it” exposures, more opportunities have opened up.
Geena also talks about conflicts she faced and those she worked with. Words Matters!