Geena Davis believes achieving gender parity on screen could happen overnight.

The 'Thelma & Louise' actress insists there is a very simple solution to criticism that men are more prominent in movies than female characters.

Speaking at AT&T's SHAPE Media Conference in Los Angeles at the weekend, she said: ''Just go through [the script] and cross out a bunch of male first names and put female first names. That's all you have to do.''

The 63-year-old actress thinks all forms of diversity need to be shown on screen and insisted Hollywood isn't as ''progressive thinking'' as it is perceived.

She said: ''As much as people think Hollywood is liberal and open-minded and progressive thinking, they're doing a worse job of reflecting society than the abysmal numbers in real life.

''If we show it, it will happen in real life.''

Geena was joined on the panel by Mayim Bialik and the 'Big Bang Theory' actress - who has a degree in neuroscience - believes it is important for diversity on screen to break stereotypes.

She said: ''Why wouldn't we need to see people who are like us to be able to imagine what we could become?''

Mayim thinks it is vital to see characters such as her own Amy Farrah Fowler and Gillian Anderson's 'X Files' alter ego, FBI Agent and doctor Dana Scully on screen to help encourage young women to want to pursue careers in science, technology or engineering.

She said: ''I was raised in a climate where if you didn't learn things as fast as the boys, it meant that it wasn't for you.

''[It's important] to have a mentor, to have someone that you can see is living the life of a scientist and also has a social life - all the things that the lone scientist in the laboratory stereotype doesn't give us.

''You're seeing the full, complicated, amazing woman living life as a scientist. That's what I needed as a young girl that wasn't there for me.''