About Us

Who We Are

Since 2004, the Institute founded by Two-Time Academy Award Winning Actor Geena Davis, has worked to mitigate unconscious bias while creating equality, fostering inclusion and reducing negative stereotyping in entertainment and media. As one of the top global research-based organizations, the Institute provides research, direct guidance and thought leadership aimed at increasing representation of marginalized groups within six identities: gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQIA+, disability, age, and body type. Because of its unique history and position, the Institute can help achieve true onscreen equity in a way that few organizations can.  Meet Our Team.

What’s the Issue?

The stories that we choose to tell in entertainment media send a specific message about who matters most in our culture. In order to bring about a global culture change, it is especially important that children see diverse, intersectional representations of characters in media to reflect the population of the world — which is half female and very diverse — and avoid unwittingly instilling unconscious bias in them. Doing good is also good for business!

We’ve got statistics! Learn about the current landscape and why change is needed.

What’s Our Solution?

“Media has the power to educate… to shape people’s thoughts. It also has an incredible power when you see someone like you on screen.”
– Shonda Rhimes

From the beginning, we found that data is the key to mitigating unconscious bias in the creation of entertainment media. Our data driven research, education and advocacy empower and inspire content creators to reimagine the media landscape to reflect the world we live in. The institute has sponsored the largest amount of research ever done on children’s entertainment media, covering over a 30 year span.

Why Us?

Our research is unique in its approach and methods. We are the only public data institute to consistently analyze representations of the six major identities: gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQIA+, disability, age 50+, and body type in Advertising, Film and Television.

Our data-led research, drives our advocacy and empowers our content creators to systemically reimagine and measure their content in order to create inclusive content for our diverse society. Our method is to share our studies and best practices directly with our content partners in a private and collegial way.

We have two primary research tools that we use for pre and post production evaluation of content: GD-IQ (the Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient) and Spellcheck for Bias.

The Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient (GD-IQ), is a groundbreaking research tool comprised of a hybrid methodology that leverages machine learning to analyze audio and video media content. Funded by Google.org, the GD-IQ is a collaboration between the Institute and the University of Southern California’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory (SAIL) and is the only software tool in existence with the ability to measure screen and speaking. The GD-IQ also incorporates Human Expert Coding to determine the representation of six identities (gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQIA+, disability, age 50+, and body type). Learn more about GD-IQ.

Spellcheck for Bias
Spellcheck for Bias® provides analysis of preproduction scripts with the purpose of identifying opportunities for greater representation of marginalized communities within six major identities (gender, race, LGBTQIA+ identity, disability, age, and body type), as well as identification of biases, tropes and stereotypes, representation issues, harmful language, and potential cultural inaccuracies. The Spellcheck for Bias® team uses a text analysis tool to identify character prominence and social science research to inform the in-depth analysis. The team also collaborates with the University of Southern California’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory (SAIL) to create a Who-Speaks-To-Whom chart that relies on machine learning to produce the frequency and rate at which major characters are speaking to each other. Central to the ethos of Spellcheck is respecting the artistic integrity of creative work, while also increasing knowledge and engaging in informed, explorative collaboration on inclusion and equity. Learn more about Spellcheck for Bias.

Our Impact

In 2019 and 2020 we achieved two of our primary mission goals, by achieving gender parity for female lead characters in the top 100 largest grossing family films and the top Nielsen rated children’s television programming.

Our expertise has prompted significant change in messaging at major networks, studios, production companies, guilds and agencies. For example, 68% of entertainment industry executives familiar with the Institute’s research changed 2 or more projects, 41% changed 4 or more projects. Changes included aspirations/occupations of female characters, their dialogue, story development or an increase in female and diverse characters.

The Institute’s research are frequently cited in major media outlets and programs including The New York Times, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, FOX News, Good Morning America, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, The Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and MSNBC, accumulating over 1 billion audience impressions with a potential media value of over $10 million. (Source: Nielsen Net Ratings).

The Geena Davis Institute is a nonprofit organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. TAX ID# 86-1943473. Please contact Elizabeth Kilpatrick via email for more information.

We are especially grateful to our funders who supported us while we navigated and moved forward during the Covid-19 pandemic. A special thanks to California Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) who provided a Recovery Grant that expedited our successful transition to a 501(c)(3).