The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

IMG_8785 Recently I was asked to shoot an event for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at the CBS studios.  I wanted to share a little bit with all of you because I think it's an important cause.  Here is what their website says about the institute.

Founded by Academy Award®-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, the Institute and its programming arm, See Jane, are at the forefront of changing female portrayals and gender stereotypes in children's media and entertainment. The Institute is uniquely positioned to spotlight gender inequalities at every media and entertainment company through cutting-edge research, education, training, strategic guidance and advocacy programs. Our mission is to work within the entertainment industry to dramatically alter how girls and women are reflected in media.


You can read more about the institute here.

It started with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) presenting Geena with the 2014 Women's Empowerment Award.


Geena Davis IMG_8788 Geena Davis IMG_8790 












Institute members were invited to a panel on gender in media entitled: It Starts With A Script.

The easiest way to improve the representations of women and girls is to create great characters from the start. Before a film or television show ever hits the screen, it starts as a script! This salon will focus on how you can develop great roles for women and girls in any scenario.


Geena and the panel pose for a photo before beginning.


Geena Davis kicked off the panel with some staggering facts about gender in media.

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-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 

Geena Davis IMG_8929directors, 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.


Susan Cartsonis, a member of the Academy, moderated the panel.  Susan's accolades include producing What Women Want and Where the Heart Is among many other successes.

susan cartonis

The talented panel (from left to right): Michelle Raimo Kouyate, Maggie Malone, Winnie Holzman, Amy Talkington.

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Michelle Raimo Kouyate is the President of Sony Pictures Animation.  She produced Silver Linings Playbook (loved that film), Puss in Boots and many more.

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Maggie Malone is head of Creative Affairs at the Walt Disney Animation Studios.  She has worked on films like Frozen, Wreck It Ralph and Tangled (you may have heard of these blockbusters).

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Winnie Holzman is the writer of the musical Wicked.  I have not seen it but everyone seems to rave about it - and my wife wants me to go see it with her...  She also created the TV series My So Called Life.

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Amy Talkington is an author and screenwriter who wrote many award winning short films and wrote and directed The Night Of the White Pants.

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It was a nice evening being surrounded by such talent.  To find out more about the institute visit the website here. 

As always, thanks for stopping by!