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Gender Bias without Borders: New Research into Female Roles and Characterization in Popular Films across 11 Countries

The Geena Davis Institute, a research-based organization focused on Gender in Media recently released a new research study analyzing the number and nature of roles for female characters in a sample of films released between January 2010 and May 2013.

The purpose of this study is to explore the visibility and nature of female depictions in films worldwide. To address this goal, the researchers analyzed gender roles in popular films across the 10 most profitable territories internationally (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom) as reported by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 2012. Films had to be “roughly equivalent” to a MPAA rating of G, PG, or PG-13 (ie suitable for family and younger viewers). 10 popular US movies released during the same time frame were also included in the analysis. Because many successful films were collaborations between the U.S. and U.K., there was an additional sample of the 10 top hybrid films from these countries. Only one film was allowed per franchise worldwide. In total 120 global films were examined.

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. Further, women are often stereotyped and sexualized when they are depicted in popular content. Few women hold positions of power and importance on screen.

The results are also compelling presented in an infographic (http://seejane.org/symposiums-on-gender-in-media/gender-bias-without-borders/) which shows the compelling need for ongoing and concerted action to improve the representation and portrayal of women and their involvement in the film industry generally.


- fileadmin/user_upload/News/Documents/2014/Oct/gender-bias-without-borders-executive-summary.pdf