Geena Davis Institute Wins Governors Award, Actor Says Theres More Work to Do for Gender Equality

During Monday’s Emmy Awards, the Governors Award was presented to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media “in recognition of their efforts to promote gender balance and foster inclusion throughout the entertainment industry.” Davis, the founder and chair, accepted the award on behalf of the organization and spoke about the continued need for gender equality in the entertainment industry in her brief speech. She was presented the award by Sarah Paulson and Shonda Rhimes, who highlighted not only her acting but her charitable work in their introduction. Madeline Di Nonno, the president and CEO of the Geena Davis Institute, also came onstage to accept the honor.

“Thank you so much,” Davis said. “We want to thank the academy and TV board of governors for this incredible honor. This recognition of our mission and our achievements means so much to Madeline and I and our team, who are here in numbers tonight. Tonight is about honoring the best of television, and as you know, as Lizzo knows, television can often directly impact how people see themselves and judge their value in the world. And in the time since I launched the institute, we’ve made a great deal of progress but still there’s more work to do, of course. Many of the content creators that we’ve partnered with are many of you. So thank you all for your support. And if there’s anybody else that thinks we might be able to help you, just call us. Thank you very much.”

Davis also expressed her gratitude when the Television Academy announced the award in August.

“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,” she said.

According to their mission statement, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is a multi-faceted organization which, thanks to a data-driven approach, provides “research, education and advocacy [which] 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 Governors Award has previously been given to Debbie Allen, Tyler Perry, “Star Trek,” “American Idol,” “Masterpiece Theater,” PBS and more recipients.

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