The motto of Geena Davis’ Institute on Gender in the Media is “If She Can See It, She Can Be It.” Davis believes that when people see characters like themselves in powerful roles onscreen, it empowers them in real life. The converse may also be true: When people are invisible in the media, their importance is deemphasized in society. Davis’ proposal to her peers in the industry had two steps.
Step One: Go through the projects you’re already working on and change a bunch of the characters’ first names to women’s names.
Step Two is, when describing a crowd scene, write in the script, ‘A crowd gathers, which is half female.’
To which we might add another step: Because about 20% of the women in the US are 65 or older, when casting women, include actresses over 65.