Academy award winning actor Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise), is an advocate for female representation onscreen, and this past Thursday she made a big step forward in assisting that with Walt Disney Studios.
Speaking at the New Zealand Inclusion Summit, Davis revealed her next step to eliminate gender inequality. The actress has partnered with the studio to implement a digital tool dubbed “GD-IQ: Spell Check for Bias,” to analyze gender representation in the text of a script. The technology’s task is to tally the genders and ethnicities of characters. From there, the spell check will proceed to analyze the level of vocabulary among various groups, display opportunities for diversity, and reveal unconscious bias.
Davis expressed her excitement at joining forces with Disney to use this technology moving forward:
I’m very proud to announce we have a brand new partnership with Walt Disney Studios using Spell Check for Bias,” Davis said onstage. “They are our pilot partners and we’re going to collaborate with Disney over the next year using this tool to help their decision-making, identify opportunities to increase diversity and inclusion in the manuscripts that they receive. We’re very excited about the possibilities with this new technology and we encourage everybody to get in touch with us and give it a try.
As well as counting the number of characters belonging to different genders and ethnicities in a given screenplay, Spellcheck for Bias will be able to keep track of the number of speaking lines that each group has, along with the sophistication of their vocabulary and their relative positions of power within the script.
Davis stressed that the goal of the tool is not to “shame and blame” writers, but instead to identify and address the unconscious bias that comes through in their work. From here, it’s said that creators will be able to make informed adjustments to avoid perpetuating negative stereotypes.
The partnership with Disney is an extension of the work carried out by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media since its founding in 2004. In the last fifteen years, the organization has commissioned a variety of studies analyzing representation gaps in entertainment, and assessing how these different forms of imbalance can shape the expectations, aspirations and prejudices of various groups.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter