Women In Film Study Reveals Gender Gap

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media commissioned a study on women in film, which confirms that female characters are underrepresented in film.see jane geena davis institute women in film

The study, backed by the Geena Davis Institute, UN Women and the Rockefeller Foundation, is the first-ever global study specifically on female characters in film. Research was conducted by Stacy L. Smith  at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

The study analyzed popular films from 11 countries that make the biggest profits from film, including the United States and the U.K. It found that girls and women are subject to stereotypes, discrimination and exclusion in movies.

Women make up half of the population of the world, so why don't they make up half of characters in movies? In fact, less than a third of characters who speak in films, about 31 percent, are female. Only 23 percent of movies have a female protagonist.

Women in film are also underrepresented in the workplace. Of movie characters with jobs, only 22.5 percent are women. When business execs, politicians, or employees with jobs in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, are represented, only 15 percent are female.

Part of this disparity comes from a lack of women filmmakers. Only 7 percent of producers, 20 perfect of writers and 23 percent of producers are women.

"The fact is – women are seriously under-represented across nearly all sectors of society around the globe, not just on-screen, but for the most part we're simply not aware of the extent," reads a quote by Geena Davis on an amazing infographic compiled from the data. "And media images exert a powerful influence in creating and perpetuating our unconscious biases."

What girls see on screen makes a difference. Davis hopes that a shift in this dynamic in film can open up opportunities and provide positive examples for girls.

"However, media images can also have a very positive impact on our perceptions," she went on to say. "In the time it takes to make a movie, we can change what the future looks like. There are woefully few women CEOs in the world, but there can be lots of them in films. How do we encourage a lot more girls to pursue science, technology and engineering careers? By casting droves of women in STEM, politics, law and other professions today in movies."

To change this trend, we can all lead by example. We can be the filmmakers that represent girls in movies. We can be the leaders and scientists who show the movie industry that there are, indeed, females in those fields!

Find out even more stats from the study at SeeJane.org. You can also join our girl power community at Sweety High to discuss why this issue is so important!

Like this story? Check out our interviews with artists and filmmakers, leaders and activists, and scientists to get even more inspiration!