The Television Academy today announced the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the leading organization on gender equality, as the 2022 Governors Award recipient in recognition of their efforts to promote gender balance and foster inclusion throughout the entertainment industry.
The Governors Award honors an individual, company or organization that has made a profound, transformational and long-lasting contribution to the arts and/or science of television.
Founded in 2004 by Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis, the Institute is the only research-based organization working collaboratively within the entertainment industry to create gender balance, advocate for inclusion and reduce negative stereotyping in family entertainment media.
The organization believes representation of characters in media should, in aggregate, reflect the population of the world, which is half female and very diverse. They advise the industry that global culture change is especially important for children who need diverse, intersectional representation in the programming they watch so they are not unwittingly taught to absorb unconscious bias.
"Since 2004, the institute has been fighting for equality and representation, long before it was comfortable to take that stand. The Television Academy is honored to add the organization to the prestigious list of recipients," said Governors Award selection committee co-Chair Kim Taylor-Coleman. "The institute's work continues to result in real-world changes that have an impact far beyond the soundstages and locations we show up at every day," added committee co-Chair Michael Spiller.
"We are incredibly honored to receive this award from the Board of Governors in recognition of our work. We know that in many sectors of our society true gender equality may take many years to achieve, but there's one space where parity can be reached virtually overnight: on screen," said Geena Davis, founder and chair. "Seeing oneself reflected in popular culture is enormously powerful. As we say, 'If they can see it, they can be it,'" said Madeline Di Nonno, president and CEO.
Their data-driven research, education and advocacy has successfully influenced content creators to reimagine the media landscape to reflect the world we live in. They are the only public data institute to consistently analyze representations of the six major marginalized identities on screen: women; people of color; LGBTQIA+ individuals; people with disabilities; older persons (50+); and large-bodied individuals in global Film, Television, Advertising and Gaming.
The Institute shares their studies and best practices directly with content partners, which has powered significant change in content development at major networks, studios, production companies, guilds, agencies and corporations. Changes included an increase in female and diverse characters, the aspirations/occupations of female characters and their dialogue, and story development.
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media was chosen by the Television Academy Board of Governors and will receive its Emmy statuette during the Emmy Awards ceremony on Monday, Sept. 12.
Previous recipients of the Governors Award, which debuted in 1978, include Debbie Allen, Tyler Perry, Star Trek, American Idol, William S. Paley, Hallmark Cards Inc., Masterpiece Theater, Comic Relief and PBS.
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