How do you quantify a deficiency that approximately half of the audience is blind to? That’s the question that led Geena Davis, Academy Award Winning Actress and Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, to become a data head. According to this interview on KPCC’s Take Two, Davis was inspired by the lack of strong female role models for her young daughter, to find a way to hold Hollywood’s feet to the fire when it comes to gender equality in entertainment.
Together with Shri Narayanan, of USC’s Viterbi school of engineering and technical research lead and Julie Ann Crommett, Google’s Entertainment industry educator in chief, the Institute recently unveiled their new software at the Global Symposium on Gender in Media. It’s called GD-IQ, short for Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient, and it measures things like screen time and speaking lines for various characters.
Shri Narayanan explains how it works… “For example just take the visuals, so shot by shot this computer algorithm goes through it and figures out, where are the faces? Once that’s done, it tracks them through the scenes and then automatically another algorithm figures out what is their gender and then you can run through the data in real time…and so by the end of that you have specific numbers and in a quick way have how much screen time a person has and how it’s distributed across various genders.”
The software then produces a score, indicating the level of gender diversity for the program or film. Viewers and advertisers can judge whether or not they want to associate themselves or their products with the show based on that score.
Given that we may soon have our first woman President, and not just on a TV show, I think this is well-timed indeed!