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NEWS & IDEAS

Geena Davis: The portrayal of women in media

Geena Davis: The portrayal of women in media

Academy Award winner Geena Davis has appeared in several roles that became cultural landmarks, including portraying the first female President of the United States in ABC's Commander in Chief. She is the founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters—and reduce gender stereotyping—in media made for children.

Davis discussed the lack of parity in media and its effect on young girls. "The more hours of TV a girl watches, the fewer options she thinks she has in life."

She asked the MAKERS Conference, "What if unconscious gender bias is a much deeper problem than we've ever imagined?" and showed the challenges women face in media. The ratios of male to female characters has been exactly the same since 1946.  In movies, of the characters holding jobs, 81% are male. Davis joked that  "we haven't had a female president yet, but we have on TV—and it was me."