An Infuriatingly Small Percentage of Women Had Lead Roles in Films in the Last 10 Years

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

With films like Wonder Woman and Girls Trip leading the box office, it seems like women and minorities are more visible in films than ever, but a new study found that we still have a long way to go.

According to a new analysis from the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg, the percentage of women in speaking roles in films has barely moved in the last 10 years. In a study of 900 films, the percentage rose a small amount from 29.9 percent in 2007 to 31.4 percent in 2015 and stayed stagnant for the next year.

Even more depressing, of the 100 top films in 2016, only about one-third (34) of the films had a female lead or co-lead. That number is up from 32 in 2015. Of those female leads, only three were from a minority racial group in 2016, and 8 were 45 years of age or older.

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On average, there are 2.3 men on screen for every one woman, which is far from an even ratio. And of those women on screen in 2016, 25.9 percent of them were shown in sexy attire while 25.6 percent showed some nudity.

The numbers don’t get any better when you turn your attention from gender to race. Last year, the percentage of white characters in film was 70.8. 25 of those top 100 films had no black or African American speaking characters, while 54 had no Latino speaking characters and 44 had no Asian speaking characters.

And as for the LGBT community, 76 of the top 100 films in 2016 did not feature any gay, lesbian, or bisexual characters.

To achieve equal representation in movies, the film industry still has a long way to go.

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