Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Geena Davis Unveils The Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient (GD-IQ), a Revolutionary Software Capable of Measuring Screen and Speaking Time Through the Use of Automation

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Jennie Peters
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First GD-IQ Report Finds Inclusion of Females Doesn’t Translate to Equitable Screen Time, with Male Characters Seen and Heard Twice as Much as Female Characters

LOS ANGELES – Today, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University announced the debut of the Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient (GD-IQ). Funded by Google.org and incorporating Google’s machine learning technology and University of Southern California’s audio-visual processing technologies, the GD-IQ is the only tool in existence with the ability to measure screen and speaking time through the use of automation. It was co-developed by the Institute and led by Dr. Shrikanth (Shri) Narayanan and his team of researchers at the University of Southern California’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory (SAIL), with additional analysis from Dr. Caroline Heldman. The revolutionary data tool took a devoted team of research engineers and social scientists two years to develop.

Existing research on gender, race, and other representations in media almost exclusively employ manually scored content analysis. The GD-IQ’s use of automated analysis of media content is significantly more advanced, able to analyze massive amounts of data in films in record-breaking time. The tool can also calculate content detail with a level of accuracy that eludes human coders.

The GD-IQ was designed to push the boundaries of how we identify the imbalance of the representation of specific demographics and stereotypes in media. Content creators from the worlds of film, television, advertising, publishing, digital and more will be able to identify and recognize the issues contributing to the problem and correct the course.

“The Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media is at the forefront of raising awareness about the critical need for equal representation in film, television, advertising, publishing, and the media, and Google.org is proud to support their work,” said Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google.org. “The Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient brings data to the conversation about unconscious bias on these mediums, and helps us better understand ways to promote more equal representation.”

“Advances in integrated machine processing of visual and audio content offers immense objective insights of visual and audio content that goes beyond those that are discernable by human ‘looking and listening.’ This opens up new possibilities from a content design to predicting impact of content,” says Shri Narayanan, the founding director of USC’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory.

The GD-IQ’s first study analyzed gender, screen and speaking time from the top 200 grossing (non-animated) films of 2014 and 2015 as listed by Variety. The tool’s advanced technology accurately measured on-screen time and speaking time by dividing each movie into a series of shots and detecting the gender of the person on camera by applying an automatic speech detection program that classifies the speaker as female or male. It also captured the total screen time by gender for each film.

“GD-IQ is an extraordinary tool that gives us the power to uncover unconscious gender bias with a depth that had never been possible to date,” said Geena Davis. “Media that is more representative of our society not only fosters a more inclusive industry, but by increasing the number and diversity of female leaders and role models on screen, content creators are affecting the ambitions and career aspirations of young girls and young women everywhere.  If she can see it, she can be it.”

The GD-IQ reveals that even when female characters are included, male characters receive significantly more screen time and more speaking time. Our key findings for 2015 show that:

  1. Male characters receive about two times the amount of screen time as female characters (28.5% compared to 16.0%)
  2. Male characters speak two times as often as female characters (28.4% compared to 15.4%)

The data indicates that solving gender inequity in in film is far more complex than simply adding more female characters. When they are present, female characters in film are seen and heard far less often than male characters.

Additionally, the study also examined the profitability of female-led films, busting the myth that female-led features don’t perform well at the box office. We find that:

  1. Films with female leads made 15.8% more on average than films with male leads ($89,941,176 compared to $75,738,095)
  2. Films featuring male and female co-leads earned 23.5% more on average that films with solo male or solo female leads ($108,317,073 compared to an average of $82,839,635)

This study demonstrates only a fraction of GD-IQ’s robust capabilities. On Sept. 22nd in New York and on Oct. 18th in Los Angeles, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount St. Mary’s along with USC Viterbi School of Engineering Professor Shri Narayanan will present findings from studies where further developed automated methods will be used to analyze individual-level character attributes such as race and age, representations of animated characters, and the composition of background scenes.

Additional findings and detailed methodology available in the report.

About the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media:
Founded by Academy Award®-winning actor Geena Davis, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University is the only research-based organization working with media and entertainment companies with cutting-edge research, education and advocacy programs to dramatically improve how girls and women are reflected in media targeting children 11 and under.

About the University of Southern California’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory

The Signal Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory (SAIL) resides at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. It was established in November 2000 by Professor Shrikanth Narayanan, who is also the Lab’s current director. SAIL conducts fundamental and applied research in human-centered information processing. SAIL’s award-winning research applications and systems development especially focus on domains with direct societal relevance including in human health and well-being, education, media, arts, and security. Studies have included developing tools for autism diagnosis and intervention, the training of therapists, as well as media analysis and technologies in support of national defense and security.

Research is supported by the NSF, NIH, DARPA, IARPA, Army, ONR, and grants from foundations and industry. SAIL supports a collaborative interdisciplinary environment and bridges research from several disciplines and partners both within and outside USC.

About Google.org
Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, supports nonprofits that innovate to address humanitarian issues. Google.org was created to pursue, experiment with, and build upon ideas to improve the world, and continues to take an iterative approach to philanthropy today. Google.org develops and invests in pursuits that can have measurable impact on local, regional and global issues, and rallies Google’s people in support of these efforts with a singular goal of creating a better world, faster.

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