About Us

What is the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media?

Founded by Academy-Award® winning actor and advocate Geena Davis in 2004, The Institute is the first and only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence content creators, marketers and audiences about the importance of eliminating unconscious bias, highlighting gender balance, challenging stereotypes, creating role models and scripting a wide variety of strong female characters in entertainment and media that targets and influences children ages 11 and under. The Institute is also the only organization employing the GD-IQ tool to create systemic change in entertainment media content creation.

What’s the issue?

  • Twelve years ago, Geena Davis observed a severe gender disparity in children’s media. In the 21st Century, women and girls are 51% of the population, entertainment media has always been bereft of female representation on screen; a ratio of approximately 3:1.
  • These research facts were not discovered until Geena pioneered the largest research study on gender depictions in children’s entertainment media.
  • We’re showing children at the youngest age that woman and girls do not take up half the space and do not have the same value and importance as men and boys.

Why it matters?

  • Children are engaging with media up to 7 hours a day, and consuming massive amounts of unconscious bias in the programming they’re consuming.
  • Media can greatly influence children’s social and cultural behaviors and beliefs.
  • Negative stereotypes they see in media can create life-long imprints which can affect their attitudes toward male and female roles in our society as well as career occupations and self-esteem.

What is our solution?

We are the only research-driven organization collaborating within the media and entertainment industry to expose gender imbalance, identify unconscious bias and creatively remodel content to achieve gender equity.

The Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient (GD-IQ), was developed through a partnership with USC Viterbi and Google.

GD-IQ is a revolutionary machine learning media measurement tool that incorporates audio and visual processing technologies to analyze massive amounts of media content in real-time. Launched in September 2016, the GD-IQ can calculate content analysis detail with a level of accuracy that eludes human coders. It pushes the boundaries of how we identify the imbalance of the representation of specific demographics and stereotypes in media.

Our Impact

The Institute is the go-to resource and thought leader on gender in media for over a decade. Our expertise has prompted significant change in messaging at major networks, studios, production companies, guilds and agencies. For example, GDI has:

  • Influenced significant gender portrayal in leading content such as Family Films Inside Out, Hotel Transylvania, The Little Prince, Equity and TV Shows Empire and DocMcStuffins.
  • Conducted custom educational workshops and presentations for industry leaders including: Cartoon Network, CBS, Disney Animation, DreamWorks, Electronic Arts, FOX Feature Animation, Google/YouTube, Hearst, HIT, ITVS, PBS, Sesame Workshop, Sony Feature Animation, Universal Pictures, Variety, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros.
  • Our SmartBrief newsletter publishes breaking news, trends, research and insights on Gender in Media from around the world.

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 characters. Review our Impact Study.

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).


“They have made great strides to change the landscape of media and programming to reflect a more accurate, gender balanced, diverse portrayal of society.”

– Nina Tassler, Chairman, CBS Entertainment

"No one has done more to bring strong, complex and truly inspirational female characters to both large and small screens."

– Wallis Annenberg, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation

We’re proud to partner with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media as we work to empower girls. It’s so important that young girls have examples of women on-screen that are smart, resilient, and inspiring, so they can grow up to reach their full potential.

– Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS

Mount Saint Mary’s University – Our Fiscal Sponsor

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is fiscally sponsored by Mount Saint Mary’s University. They provide the administrative and financial support that allow us to focus on fulfilling our organizational mission. Please contact Elizabeth Kilpatrick via email for a copy of Mount Saint Mary’s 501(c)3 or other financial information.

You have the power to change the
face of children's programming.

With your help, if she can see it, she can be it.

Your donation will further our research efforts and
fund continuing curriculum development for young children.

How would you like to support the Institute?

Starts at $250 for Individuals
and $5,000 for Corporations

Do you have questions about donating to the institute?
Please contact Elizabeth Kilpatrick via email or call 714-475-3885.