GENDER BIAS WITHOUT BORDERS
An Investigation of female Characters in popular films across 11 Countries
Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Marc Choueiti, & Dr. Katherine Pieper with assistance from Yu-Ting Liu & Christine Song Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative USC Annenberg
The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and nature of female characters in popular films from 11 countries around the world.
#1 Global Alert: Girls are Nowhere to be Scene
A total of 5,799 speaking or named characters on screen were evaluated, with 30.9% female and 69.1% male. This calculates into a gender ratio of 2.24 males to every one female. Turning to protagonists, only 23.3% of the films had a girl or woman as a lead or co lead driving the plot.
#2 A Ray of Hope: More Female Filmmakers, More Female Characters On Screen
#3 No Matter the Territory, Female Characters Cannot Escape An Emphasis on Appearance
#4 The Leering Lens: Fictional Females Aged 13-39 Equally Sexualized
#5 Widespread Gender Disparity: On Screen Inequality Doesn’t Mirror Real World Roles
#6 Female Executives are an Endangered Species in International Films
#7 No Justice for Fictional Females in Law, Medicine, and Academia
#8 No Seeds Being Planted for Women and Girls in STEM With Males Outpacing Females by Over 7 to 1
Frauen- und Männerbilder: It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World
It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: On-Screen Representations of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2014
by Dr. Martha M. Lauzen
“Females comprised 12% of protagonists featured in the top 100grossing films of 2014. This represents a decline of 3 percentage points from 2013 and a decline of 4 percentage points from 2002.
However, rather than just raising the general population’s awareness of the underrepresentation of female characters, the new study considers the centrality of female characters to the story, as well as whether they have identifiable goals and are portrayed as leaders.
Findings/Behind-the-Scenes Employment and On-Screen Representation
•In films with at least one woman director and/or writer, females comprised 37% of all speaking characters. In films with exclusively
male directors and writers, females accounted for 28% of all speaking characters.
•In films with at least one woman director and/or writer, females comprised 33% of major characters. In films with exclusively male directors and writers, females accounted for 28% of major characters.
•In films with at least one woman director and/or writer, females comprised 39% of protagonists, males 35% of protagonists, and male/female ensembles 26% of protagonists. In films with exclusively male directors and writers, females accounted for 4% of protagonists, males 87% of protagonists, and male/female ensembles 9% of protagonists.