Why is Hollywood still so behind on big movies starring women?
We all know that diversity and inclusion in Hollywood are a big deal. Well, we have some depressing statistics about female representation in movies. According to a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, only 33% of the top 100 movies of 2022 had female protagonists.
That’s pretty bad, but there are worse numbers.
Females only accounted for 37% of all speaking characters in 2022, and 80% of films featured more male than female characters. A demographic breakdown of female characters reveals 64% were white, 18% were Black, 7% were Latina, and 8% were Asian.
You can view the whole report right here.
There was also some age disparity in the kinds of women shown. 36% were in their 30s, and 14% were in their 40s. 7% of female characters were over 60.
What Does All This Data Mean?
Well, it’s indicative of the kinds of stories being told and also the people telling them. The study found that females comprised 56% of protagonists when there was a female director and/or writer for the film. In films with male directors and/or writers, females accounted for 23% of protagonists.
Hollywood and gender equality have never been synonymous, but the incremental change between 31% of the top 100 movies having female characters in 2021 as opposed to 33% of movies having female protagonists now is shameful.
We work at the juncture of storytelling and commerce. I’m aware there is nuance to which characters are in which movies, it will never be a true 50/50 spilt.
But it does feel like this town has stopped seeking out media that may be entertaining to women and has stopped looking for women behind the camera to tell those stories.
The only solution is to tell more of these stories to get numbers up and to hire women in general.
It’s not more complicated than that.