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Geena Davis Sounds Off on Gender Equality in Hollywood: ‘Nothing Changed’

”I was just cruising along thinking, ‘Well, yeah, it won’t happen to me.’ It did,“ says the actress of casting discrimination

Geena Davis believes gender inequality in Hollywood is still as prevalent as it was 25 years ago.

“Having been in some roles that really resonated with women, I became hyper-aware of how women are represented in Hollywood,” said Davis in an interview with The Guardian. “After ‘Thelma & Louise,’ which was pretty noticed and potent and significant, [people were saying] ‘This changes everything! There’s going to be so many female buddy movies!’ and nothing changed.”

Even after seeing the success of Davis’ next film, “A League of Their Own,” Davis had hoped that more sports movies featuring women would be produced — however, she says this was not the case.

“That’s balls,” Davis said. “It took 10 years until ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ came out. So, there was no trend whatsoever.”

Moreover, like many women in the industry, Davis also discussed discrimination and ageism in Hollywood.

“I was averaging about one movie a year my whole career and that was because I’m fussy,” said Davis. “I probably could have done more. And then in my 40s, I made one movie … And I was positive it wasn’t going to happen to me because I got a lot of great parts for women. I was very fortunate to have all that stuff happen and never get typecast, so I was just cruising along thinking, ‘Well, yeah, it won’t happen to me.’ It did.”

“It’s frustrating and it certainly made me angry at different times,” she continued. “It’s tough.”

Davis founded The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2006, where she works to improve gender imbalance in the industry as well as the diversification of female characters. Davis also co-founded the Bentonville Film Festival, which provides a commercial option for women and diverse storytellers to share their work with a national audience.

Other women who have spoken out about ageism and gender equality in Hollywood include Meryl Streep, Zoe Saldana, Helen Mirren, Patricia Arquette and Jessica Lange.

Maggie Gyllenhaal told TheWrap in May, “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”