“Because I was fortunate enough to be cast in movies like Thelma & Louise and A League of Their Own, I developed a heightened awareness of how women are portrayed in media,” Academy-award winning actress Geena Davis said. Davis will be our keynote speaker on Monday morning, October 15 and will discuss her work in promoting gender equality, eliminating unconscious bias, challenging stereotypes and creating role models. Davis is more than just a celebrated Hollywood veteran and has transcended her sphere of influence by working tirelessly for the inclusion of women and girls in media.
Davis is the founder and chair of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which engages film and television creators with the aim of dramatically increasing the presence of women in media and reducing gender stereotyping of children.
Davis is also the former chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. The commission works to promote equality and justice for all women and girls and advocates with the California governor, legislature and other policymakers.
Davis was appointed special envoy for Women and Girls in Information and Communications Technology for the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU). She is also an official partner of UN Women, working toward their goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women worldwide. And Davis and festival co-founder Trevor Drinkwater founded the Bentonville Film Festival in 2015 to champion women in media. BFF’s mission is to encourage content creation in film and other forms of media that reflects the diverse—and half female—world we live in. BFF proactively supports content creation by women and diverse voices with a platform to showcase their work and, with the help of their partners, is the only film competition in the world to guarantee theatrical, television, digital, and retail home entertainment distribution for its winners.
Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks. Davis made her feature film debut in “Tootsie.” She went on to star in such films as “The Fly,” “Angie,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” and the “Stuart Little” franchise.
In 1989, Davis received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Accidental Tourist. She was again nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Thelma & Louise. Davis went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her performance in A League of Their Own.
Earning the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama, Davis broke ground in her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show Commander in Chief.
Few have achieved such remarkable success in as many different fields as Davis: she is not only an award-winning actor, but a world-class athlete. At one time, she was the 13th-ranked archer in the U.S. Davis is a member of the Mensa genius society,
Davis holds honorary degrees from Boston University, Bates College and New England College.