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Licensing International and the Geena Davis Institute reveal industry Diversity and Inclusion advancements

Licensing International and the Geena Davis Institute reveal industry Diversity and Inclusion advancements

Licensing International hosted a live event to announce the results of the year one report on advancing diversity and inclusion in the licensing industry. After initiating the first-ever global study of diversity in the licensing business community in 2020, conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, benchmarks were established to measure progress over the next year. During the virtual event, Licensing International was proud to share, despite the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the licensing industry was able to show growth across a myriad of benchmarks posed. The event also featured a live panel discussion with industry leaders including Jamie Stevens, Executive Vice President at Sony Pictures Entertainment and chair of the IDEA committee, Malaika Underwood, Senior Vice President, Licensing at OneTeam Partners and Steven Wolfe Pereira, CEO & Co-Founder at Encantos.

Notable increases in the benchmarks established by Licensing International and GDIGM since 2020, include the following:

  • 34% of respondents report that their organization has D&I education and training programs, up from 21% in 2020
  • 41% of survey respondents report that their organization has a D&I program, up from 30% in 2020
  • 15% of respondents report that their organization budgeted financial support for D&I programs in 2021, up from 10% a year ago, an increase of 5%.
  • The number of programs with D&I mission statements increased by 6% in 2021 from 23% to 29%
  • The number of organizations with D&I Recruitment efforts increased by 6% from 26% to 32%

“Given the severe financial implications of COVID-19, we were able to advance progress significantly in spite of these unprecedented challenges.  It was heartening to see that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives remained a priority which reflects the ongoing commitment to systemically change the licensing industry,” states Madeline Di Nonno, President and CEO of the Institute. 

The study by the Institute compiled responses from a global survey of Licensing International member companies with supplemental research and data analysis which gave strong insights in 2020 allowing for the industry to target areas of growth and create actionable steps for change. Since the study, notable progress has been made including increases in the number of D&I education and training programs within organizations, and an increase in the financial budget to support these programs. What’s more, the research has also provided industry leaders with tangible measures to promote diversity and inclusion as some parts of the industry begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The licensing industry is driven by consumer behavior more than ever, and this shift in business is both important and exciting because it creates a dialogue and amplifies diverse and underrepresented voices,” says Maura Regan, President of Licensing International, “This work is not one and done, and while there is still progress to be made I am hopeful for this continued shift and know the brands that keep working to meet consumers where they are will be successful.” 

Licensing International has made this program and its research materials available free of charge on their website (here) in an effort to help its members and the broader licensing community build diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Diversity & Inclusion in the Licensing Industry Research Sponsored By:

  • National Basketball Players Association
  • National Football League Players Association
  • Peanuts Worldwide
  • Sony Pictures

About The Author

Rebecca Ash

Rebecca is the Editorial Director at Total Licensing Ltd. She can be reached at

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