The film industry: Gender bias without borders

New research on the film industry has concluded that "female characters are not equal and they are not aspirational".

The research objective was to examine the prevalence and nature of female characters in popular films across the 10 most profitable territories internationally, namely, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Based on a sample of 120 films containing 5,799 speaking or named characters, the research uncovered some interesting facts, including:

  • Only 23.3% of the films had a girl or woman as a lead or co-lead driving the plot
  • Films with a female director attached had 6.8% more females on screen than did those without a female director
  • Not only are females over two times as likely as males to be shown in sexually revealing attire, but there is virtually little or no difference in the sexualization of female characters between the ages of 13 and 39 years.

Access the report here.

Commissioned by the New York-based Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the research was undertaken with support from UN Women and The Rockefeller Foundation.

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Advancing gender equality in media

In my opinion, the most effective strategy to achieve gender-sensitive media is:

Increased gender-awareness training of media professionals
Greater action by audiences to hold their media accountable
Stricter enforcement of gender-focussed media codes and policies
More female journalists, editors and media house managers



#MeToo #TimesUp

In my view, society is less tolerant of sexist stereotypes in the media now than three years ago.

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