Historic year for female-led movies but women still underrepresented

A study by The Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that 29 percent of 2016’s 100 highest earning movies were led by women. This marks a seven percent increase from the last year’s study and a historic high for females in movies.
female representation in films
Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals

The increase in female leads is thanks to the success of movies such as Bad Moms, Star Wars: Rogue One, Arrival and the new Ghostbusters.

Discussing the results, Martha Mauzen, who authored the study, said:

“We have now seen over and over and over that female characters, when done well, they’re good box office,”

Women were also accountable for 37 per cent of major characters in films, an increase of three per cent from last year. This is based on how many scenes the character appeared in, and whether they proved instrumental to the story.

The findings however, also showed that there is work to be done when it comes to representation. 76 per cent of all female characters were white, the number of Asian women made up six per cent, and the percentage of black women increased by just one per cent, to 14 per cent.

Lauzen said on the findings:

“…Race and ethnicity were a mixed bag. The percentage of Asian female characters doubled in 2016, and the percentage of black female characters increased slightly, but the percentage of Latina characters decreased slightly.”

The study also found that statistically, audiences were more likely to be informed of a female character’s marital status than a male character’s, whilst men were identified by their occupation.

Unfortunately, just seven per cent of the top 250 earning movies has a female director, down two per cent from 2015. According to The Guardian, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could take legal action against major Hollywood companies due to the lack of female representation behind the scenes.

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