Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Research Informs & Empowers

The Institute has commissioned more than 12 groundbreaking research studies, and has amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in family entertainment, spanning more than 20 years. Our research findings are in high demand by companies and organizations interested in the empowerment of women and girls, and the creation of leadership and entrepreneurship roles. These studies, conducted by Dr. Stacy Smith, Ph.D. and her team at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, reveal decisive and startling evidence of gender inequality and rampant stereotyping in film and television.

The Institute’s research serves as the basis for education and outreach programs that help families, studios, educators and content creators become critical consumers and producers.

In a survey following the 2012 Third Symposium on Gender in Media, more than 90% of attendees stated that the information they learned would influence how they perceive gender balance and stereotypes in their work, and 98% would share and utilize our research findings with their peers and in their companies.

Key Findings / Executive Summaries

Full Research Reports

Research Facts

  • Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films. In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in the United States. Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.
  • Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire. Further, females are nearly twice as likely as males to be shown with a diminutive waistline. Generally unrealistic figures are more likely to be seen on females than males.
  • Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.
  • From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce.

All facts are supported by research conducted by Stacy Smith, Ph.D. at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism