News Archive

February 13, 2024

Geena Davis Institute Publishes New Study Revealing Women in STEM are Underrepresented in TV and Film

New findings from the latest report by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media reveal male STEM characters on-screen continue to outnumber female STEM characters, despite 71% of young women ages 11-24 agreeing it is important to have female STEM representation on-screen.

In collaboration with IF/THEN®, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, the new study, Portray Her 2.0, An Analysis of 15 Years of Women in STEM On-Screen, 2007–2022, takes a closer look at the depiction of STEM characters in TV and film, and outlines recommendations for improving diverse STEM representation across entertainment media.

“When children turn on their screens, the characters they see – or don’t see – send a powerful message about who matters and who doesn’t, and about what is considered possible and what is not,” said Geena Davis, Founder and Chair of the Geena Davis Institute. “As members of the entertainment industry, we have the opportunity to move past our longstanding default ideas about who should fill a STEM character role — and motivate more girls and women to emerge as future STEM leaders and pioneers.”

The findings were debuted at an in-person event in Los Angeles on February 12. The Institute was joined by actors, STEM professionals, industry leaders and more, including Miranda Cosgrove, Host and Executive Producer of Mission Unstoppable, Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, Co-Host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom Protecting the Wild, Melissa Navia, Actor, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and Sara Scott, Executive Vice President of Production Development, Universal Pictures, who joined panel discussions to weigh in on the importance of female STEM representation on-screen.

Findings from “Portray Her 2.0” revealed:

  • There has been little change in the amount of female STEM characters since 2007, with 37% in 2007-2017, and 38% of STEM roles portrayed by women from 2018-2022.
  • From 2018-2022, STEM characters of color increased to 42% of all STEM roles, compared to 29% in 2007-2017.
  • From 2018–2022, women were shown in more diverse STEM fields, with an increase in female characters shown as engineers (2% to 13%), and computer scientists or programmers (7% to 15%).
  • 72% of women of color reported that characters of color like Shuri and Riri Williams in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” had a positive influence on their interest in STEM.

“We are thrilled to support a study that explores this important topic, especially one that has a direct impact on shaping the next generation of STEM innovators,” said Nicole Small, CEO of Lyda Hill Philanthropies and Co-Founder of IF/THEN®. “We are firm believers that science is the key to solving most of our world’s problems, and ensuring that women have an equal opportunity to succeed in STEM fields is a vital piece of the solution. I hope this report will demonstrate there is work to be done to balance the representation of women in STEM careers to further a culture shift inspiring young girls to explore these professions.”

Read the Full Press Release

January 23, 2024

Geena Davis Institute Awarded Research Grant by Nielsen Foundation

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media announced today that it is the recipient of a $75,000 grant from the Nielsen Foundation to support ongoing research and advocacy initiatives surrounding representation in entertainment and media.

Founded by Academy Award Winning Actor Geena Davis, The Geena Davis Institute has worked to mitigate unconscious bias while creating equality, fostering inclusion and reducing negative stereotyping in entertainment and media since 2004. As a top global research-based organization, the Institute provides direct guidance and thought leadership on increasing representation across gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQIA+, disability, age, and body type.

“The Nielsen Foundation has been honored to support The Geena Davis Institute’s critical work since 2017 to use data to better understand representation in entertainment and media,” said Andrea Bertels, President and Executive Director, Grantmaking, Nielsen Foundation. “We can’t wait to see how the next phase of research will continue to foster a more inclusive media future.”

The Nielsen Foundation’s mission is to power and advance inclusive innovation and representation in the media and technology industries, particularly through data and research.

“Our research is rooted in our passion for making media more reflective of the diverse world we live in,” said Madeline Di Nonno, President and CEO of the Geena Davis Institute. “We are so grateful to the Nielsen Foundation for recognizing the alignment of our missions and supporting us in these efforts so that we can continue to influence change for years to come.”

The grant will support the Institute’s annual report on representation and inclusion in children’s television and accompanying Symposium events throughout 2024.

Findings from the 2023 report revealed:

  • Only 44% of leads in new shows being made for kids are female
  • Only 42% of animated characters are female, compared to 58% male
  • Lead characters of color are at a record high of 56%

“The findings uncovered by these extensive studies result in significant improvements across media,” said Di Nonno. “This grant will enable us to further explore these topics and strengthen our recommendations for decision makers.”

About the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media:
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.

About Nielsen Foundation:
The Nielsen Foundation is a private foundation originally funded by Nielsen, a global data and analytics company. The Foundation envisions a more equitable world, enabled by inclusive media and technology, where everyone has voice and opportunities to succeed. Its mission is to power and advance inclusive innovation and representation in the media and technology industries, especially through the use of data and research. Grants from the Nielsen Foundation typically support efforts to advance representation in media production and content through the use of data and research, support diverse talent in media and technology careers, and encourage the use of media and technology as forces for good.

December 01, 2023

Forbes: New Report Reveals How The Marketing Of Toys Reinforces Gender Stereotypes

Children’s ambitions, interests, and skills are shaped very early on by the media they consume, their choice of toys, and how they play. When these early experiences reinforce gender stereotypes and roles, it has a profound influence on their confidence, sense of self, and potential. A child’s early experiences affect not only their development and life choices, but eventually the composition of our workforce, the strength of our economy, and the diversity and balance within our world.

A child internalizes gender stereotypes by the age of five. It starts from the moment they’re born. As we get older, we attempt to fix ourselves with self-help books and advice to unlearn these beliefs, but we don’t look at the root of the problem. Toy industry thought leaders and social impact experts, Laurel Wider and Jodi Bondi Norgaard are doing just that. They have spent the last few years focusing on where the stereotypes start and how toys and play in particular nurture and encourage gender roles. They believe if we want to raise whole children, we need to support and encourage the whole child. Their most recent work is a collaborative effort with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, called Equal Play? Analyzing Gender Stereotypes, Diversity, and Inclusion in Advertising and Marketing for the Most Popular Toys of 2022 that examines how marketing techniques in the toy industry reinforce gender norms and expectations.

Read the Full Article

October 17, 2023

Banijay Unveils Global Accelerator Program Banijay Launch to Support Emerging Women Unscripted Creators

Media and entertainment powerhouse, Banijay, today launches a brand-new global accelerator program, designed to exclusively support women creators with promising unscripted formats. Unveiled at a prestigious breakfast in Cannes for MIPCOM 2023, Banijay Launch is geared towards discovering and incubating untapped talent, to support the next generation of global franchise makers.

Initiated by Sharon Levy, Chief Executive Officer, Endemol Shine North America, and co-led by James Townley, Chief Content Officer, Development at Banijay, Banijay Launch will provide a selected women mentorship by Banijay’s global collective of creatives to aid them in developing bold new formats from concept to pitch to sale, thereby supercharging the group’s burgeoning pipeline.

Conceived as an enterprise-level strategy to address gender inequity and fuel creativity, Banijay Launch will seek out undiscovered formats with international appeal, from an incredible pool of undiscovered women across the globe, providing a new opportunity for Banijay to further diversify both its talent and IP worldwide.

Banijay Launch was inspired by the Propelle program, a female-focused accelerator initiative created and developed in 2020 by Everywoman Studios’ CEO, Abby Greensfelder. With Levy and Endemol Shine North America partnering for two consecutive years with Everywoman Studios and Realscreen on the program, the pair have established a long-standing working relationship. Greensfelder consulted on the creation of Banijay Launch and will join the judging panel for the initiative’s inaugural year.

To support the program, Banijay Americas has commissioned a first-of-its-kind study with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, in partnership with Everywoman Studios. The institute is the only global data-driven, non-profit that researches diversity, equity, and inclusion onscreen in media and entertainment to mitigate unconscious bias, while fostering inclusion, and systematically reducing negative stereotyping. The ground-breaking study will investigate women’s inclusion in creative leadership roles in unscripted production across four distinct territories: Brazil, the U.K. and U.S., and one EU territory to be determined.

Entries are now OPEN at www.banijaylaunch.com.

How it works? Banijay will first select the top three to five finalists who will be mentored by a local creative (names disclosed in notes to editors) to develop their formats, with the aim of nurturing them to screen. The competition will culminate with a live pitch presentation before a judging panel led by Levy and Townley. Fellow judges include Marco Bassetti, Chief Executive Officer, Banijay; Pilar Blasco, Chief Executive Officer, Banijay Iberia; and Abby Greensfelder, Founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios. A winner will be crowned during London Screenings 2024.

Sharon Levy, CEO, Endemol Shine North America comments: “As a group, Banijay is constantly exploring new ways to support the broader content community, diversify its pipeline and ultimately, sharpen its creative edge. With an undisputed track record of travelling IP, expansive cross-territory network of first-class producers, and industry-leading unscripted infrastructure led by Creative Networks, the business is primed to open its doors to yet-to-be-discovered creative minds. Through Banijay Launch, and the partnership with the Geena Davis Institute, we hope to welcome women creators who may be struggling to have their voices heard, setting a new narrative for the industry, and fostering the next generation of break-out unscripted formats.”

Marco Bassetti, CEO, Banijay comments: “We are proud at Banijay to have over 50% of our managerial positions globally filled by women. However, we recognise the landscape has not always supported this demographic of creators in breaking through. With Banijay Launch, we are vested in spearheading a raft of new unscripted format ideas, ideated by women, and in doing so, we hope to bring new voices and talent to the market, with the potential of creating the next Survivor, MasterChef, or Big Brother…”

The initiative will capitalise on the infrastructure and expertise of Creative Networks, Banijay’s central unscripted content department co-led by Townley and Lucas Green, Chief Content Officer, Operations.

Read the Announcement on Variety.com

June 22, 2023

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media Research Shows Mars Advertisements Have Reached Gender Parity in On-Screen Representation

Mars introduced results from research commissioned with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to assess representation of gender, race, identity, disability and age (60+) in the company’s advertisements that aired in 2022 worldwide. Mars began assessing representation of their advertising with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media five years ago.

For the first time, Mars ads have reached gender parity – with female characters comprising 49.9% of all people shown across the company’s ads. This is a 51% increase in female character representation since the first assessment. Further, people of color comprise 63% of all people featured in Mars ads, which is a 117% increase since 2018. However, the research did identify areas for improvement in the representation of identity (1.6%), disability (0.6%) and age (2%).

“In the world we want tomorrow, society is inclusive, so it’s critical our award-winning advertising reflects and celebrates the diversity of the audiences who enjoy them and our products around the world,” said Andrew Clarke, Global President, Mars Wrigley “Mars has previously reported on gender diversity, but in the spirit of transparency and accountability, we’ve broadened the scope of our reports to also include racial diversity and LGBTQIA+, Disability and Age onscreen representation. We’re incredibly proud of the advancements we’ve made in terms of gender and race representation, but the truth is, we still have work to do to meet our vision of full representation balance in our advertising.”

In addition to looking at representation, the research evaluated character portrayals in activities such as shopping, driving, cleaning, cooking, working, socializing, eating/drinking and exercising. This latest report indicated very few instances of stereotyping and parity on both gender and race for situations such as who was speaking or positions of leadership. For example, in 2018, female characters were 5x more likely to be shown doing the cooking in Mars Food ads, whereas in 2022, male characters were shown cooking more often than female characters (55% compared to 29.2%).

The research leveraged the Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient (GD-IQ), a groundbreaking machine learning tool that also incorporates the University of Southern California Signal Analysis, Interpretation Laboratory’s (SAIL) audio-visual processing technologies and human expert coding. The team analyzed more than 974 people featured in 413 Mars advertisements across the company’s confectionery, petcare and food businesses.

“We’re proud of our long-term partnership with Mars and commend them for the progress they’ve made to enhance representation balance in their advertising,” said Madeline Di Nonno, CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media. “We also hope Mars’ transparency with these findings will also encourage the larger industry to prioritize the equitable inclusion and representation.”

Read the PR Newswire Press Release

June 12, 2023

Geena Davis on Making Show Business More Inclusive

Actor Geena Davis joined The TODAY Show and talked about kicking off the ninth annual Bentonville Film Festival (June 13–18, 2023) dedicated to making show business more inclusive.

Watch the Interview

June 12, 2023

Award-Winning Documentary “This Changes Everything” Gets Canadian Adaptation

The documentary “This Changes Everything” is getting a Canadian adaptation. Geena Davis and New York-based production house CreativeChaos will again partner for a new edition of their Gracie Award-winning film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was released in U.S. cinemas in 2019 and globally distributed by Starz and Netflix.

The Canadian adaptation will draw attention to the critical issues specific to the Canadian media and filmmaking industries, including gender disparity, sexual harassment and the perpetual discrimination and underrepresentation of women, BIPOC and other marginalized groups.

CreativeChaos will produce alongside Quebec-based Poutine Studios, Palmina Productions and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Davis serves as executive producer, along with Tom Donahue, Ilan Arboleda, Madeline Di Nonno and Kerianne Flynn. For Poutine Studios, Debra Kouri is producer, and Natasha Gargiulo is producer for Palmina Productions. The production team is currently scouting a top Canadian female filmmaker to direct the project.

Davis said of the film: “When our Institute’s Canadian Council Chair, Natasha Gargiulo of Palmina Productions, came to us with the idea for a Canadian iteration, we went into action immediately, and we are excited once again to be teaming with CreativeChaos to make it happen.”

Read the Full Article

March 27, 2023

Geena Davis Institute Earns Candid’s 2023 Gold Seal of Transparency

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media proudly announces that it has earned Candid’s 2023 Gold Seal of Transparency on GuideStar. The official seal recognizes philanthropic organizations that demonstrate a deep commitment to transparency, accountability, and inclusivity and operate from a position of strong financial health. Less than 2% of non-profits registered with Candid are recognized with a Gold Seal. This high rating underscores the Institute’s adherence to industry best practices and donation of philanthropic dollars responsibly and efficiently.

Donors can support the Institute’s work with trust and confidence, knowing that their contributions are working hard to promote gender equality and intersectional representation in media which will facilitate equitable representation and advance social justice onscreen and in real life.

Together, we can change the world – and Hollywood! Are you in? Explore our website to learn more about what we do, or make a donation here.

March 09, 2023

M&M’s “Flipping the Status Quo” Winners Announced

Celebrate the winners of M&M’s “Flipping the Status Quo” program, announced on International Women’s Day. Nominated by friends, family, and colleagues, these women are positively impacting the community around them. We are so excited to support these game-changing women and their missions!

View all the winners and their stories!

March 08, 2023

New Goddess Exhibition & Being Seen on Screen: The Importance of Representation Conference – April 5

Photos Credits: L-R: Laverne Cox in Paper Magazine, 2020, © Joshua Kissi. Marilyn Monroe, image by Milton H. Greene, © Archive on behalf of Milton H. Greene. 2007 SAKURAN Film Committee © Moyoco Anno/Kodansha. Winnie Harlow. Photo: Albert Sanchez

ACMI today announces a pivotal new partnership with two-time Academy Award-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. The iconic actor is set to travel to Melbourne as lead ambassador for the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces blockbuster, Goddess: Power, Glamour, Rebellion. The ACMI-curated exhibition opens at Australia’s national museum of screen culture on April 5, 2023 before touring internationally.

Globally renowned for her show-stopping performances in hits such as Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own, Beetlejuice and The Accidental Tourist, Geena Davis is a true Hollywood movie star. Beyond her impact on screen, she is also a leader in leveraging research, education and advocacy to influence systemic change in onscreen character portrayals in global film, television, advertising and gaming through her Institute.

Goddess celebrates the pantheon of trailblazing women who fought the system that tried to exploit them. Showcasing more than 150 exhibition highlights, including never-before-seen costumes, original sketches, interactive experiences, large-scale projections and cinematic treasures, the exhibition interrogates the many stereotypes surrounding the screen goddess and honours the ground-breaking achievements of the screen’s revolutionary leading women.

In aligning with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media Goddess signals the work of these formidable figures is far from done – there are more boundaries to break, agendas to advance and systems to fight – while working towards a better future.

Speaking about her ambassadorship with ACMI, Geena Davis, said: “I’m so excited to be a launch partner for this ground-breaking exhibition and to lead important conversations about gender equality at the special Goddess event, Being Seen on Screen: The Importance of Representation. This one-day conference at ACMI will inspire discussion about equality, diversity and ageing on Australian screens – vital conversations to have if we are to make permanent change in the screen industry.”

Being Seen on Screen: The Importance of Representation Conference
April 5, 9am – 6pm

This one-day conference will galvanise conversations around gender representation and diversity on Australian screens through panel discussions and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Geena Davis and her passionate call to action, live in conversation on April 5. The incredible speaker line up includes Madeline Di Nonno, President & CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and a cross-section of Australian screen industry talent including Michelle Cheng, Santilla Chingaipe, Jan Fran, Elaine Crombie, Sophie Hyde, Amy Marks, Pallavi Sharda, Anousha Zarkesh, plus award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist Carly Findlay, and the 2023 Australian of the Year, award-winning filmmaker, bestselling author and founder of the Body Image Movement, Taryn Brumfitt.

Tickets to the provocative new exhibition and events program now on sale

IF SHE CAN SEE IT, SHE CAN BE IT®