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insights

Changing gender representation with data insights

In 2004, actress Geena Davis realized that she couldn’t find any data on how gender was represented in children’s media. To find out, she launched the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, whose primary goal is to advocate for on-screen gender representation using data from research.

The institute has just released its latest report, after analyzing more than 2.7 million YouTube videos uploaded by advertisers between January 1, 2015, and March 31, 2019. The report shows that, while there is still a long way to go, there is also progress. For instance, children’s TV shows have female characters as leads or co-leads 52% of the time, and female characters account for 55% of screen time and 50% of speaking time.

Results of the study on Gender Representation by the Geena Davis Institute.
Source.

In the article she wrote to Google about the experience, Geena Davis tells how, after more than a decade in the institute, she has learned that data-driven research is a powerful tool for change. She describes how she has shared her findings with advertisers to advocate for making video marketing more inclusive

The element that made all the difference here is that the research didn’t stop at collecting the data points about the issue. The Geena Davis Institute used the information to create data insights on the importance of gender representation. The learnings on patterns of gender bias, then, generated discussions about unconscious bias. The result illustrates the main difference between data points and data insights: while data points helped to paint the picture, data insights caused fundamental changes to the advertising industry.

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