Geena Davis: Hollywood's gender equality problems 'not better yet'
Since starring in Thelma & Louise 25 years ago, Geena Davis has made it her business to keep tabs on gender inequality in Hollywood.
“The reaction was so eye-opening,” Davis told EW during our Thelma & Louise reunion. “From then on, I chose roles based on, ‘What are the women in the audience going to think of this character?'”
In 2004, Davis started the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, an organization created to “engage, educate, and influence content creators to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping, and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under.”
“When I had a daughter, and I started watching kids entertainment with her, I was like, ‘What? What are we doing? This is the 21st century, and there are far more male characters than female characters,'” Davis said. “It seemed like nobody was noticing this. So I went overboard.”
In response to what she was seeing, Davis’ institute “has amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment, which spans more than 20 years.” According to Davis, despite hits like Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own and more recently, Bridesmaids and The Hunger Games franchise, “the ratio of male to female characters has been exactly the same since 1946.”
But numbers aside, Davis thinks things are trending in the right direction because of the growing outcry over Hollywood’s issues. “It’s not yet,” she said about whether the industry’s inequality problems had improved. “It will be, and I think very soon — based on the reaction we get — but it’s not better yet.”