Geena Davis penned an essay for The Daily Beast about the lack of change in women’s representation in Hollywood.
In the article, Davis pointed to statistics and research conducted by her institute, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, that shows that the ratio of male-to-female characters in film has been “exactly the same” since 1946.
She said that “something’s going on” with gender equality in Hollywood and highlighted Jennifer Lawrence’s pay-inequality essay, as well as Sandra Bullock’s role in Our Brand Is Crisis — a role initially written for George Clooney. However, Davis said, “I hate to break it to you, but it’s far too soon to say things have changed.”
Davis reiterated comments she’s made in the past about how people said women’s roles in film would change after Thelma & Louise and A League of Their Own. “Articles predicting a sea change have always been wrong. So far,” said Davis.
She cited statistics showcasing inequality: For example, for every one female speaking character in a G-, PG- or PG-13-rated movie, there are about three male speaking characters. Davis said her institute is working with studios to change that, and in a recent survey of the Hollywood industry people who have heard her presentation, “68 percent said it had changed 2 or more of their projects, and 41 percent said it had impacted 4 or more of their projects.”
“Basically, I would say that if a movie comes out that seems to do right by women, I maybe had something to do with it,” said Davis, who refers to herself as a “big fact expert” in the essay. “But I’m fine being a behind-the-scenes type of gal.”
The Oscar-winning actress ended the essay on a positive note, saying she feels very confident in predicting that things will change soon.
She added, “When the needle does move, after nearly seven decades of being completely stuck, it will be historic.”