Film Study Finds Number of Female Protagonists Down 5 Percent

Film Study Finds Number of Female Protagonists Down 5 Percent

Females also remained younger than their male counterparts - the majority of female characters were in their twenties and thirties, while the majority of males were in their thirties and forties.

Looking at other categories, women accounted for 37% of major characters - so no change from 2016 - and 34% of speaking characters, an increase of just 2 percentage points from 2016.

However, the same study found that, overall, the percentage of women in protagonist roles dropped to 24 percent, down five points from 2016.

In an accounting of 2017 films in which females led the production, "Wonder Woman", with Gal Gadot, made the cut.

Female representation did grow in films that featured at least one woman director and/or writer: the protagonist percentage grew to 45%, the major character percentage at 48% and the speaking parts lifted to 42%. The report, via The Guardian, reveals the film industry's gender gap was not only in full swing in 2017 but was even growing. Seventy-nine percent of the top 100-grossing films had 10 or more male characters with speaking roles.


There were some notable contrasts in the demographics of characters.

There was some good news when it comes to diversity.

Representation by minority female characters also rose - up 2% to 16% for blacks, up 4% to 7% for Latinas and up 1% up 7% for Asians.

It definitely seemed to be a big studio problem.

Male characters were more likely than females to be seen in work-related roles only (65% vs. 44%), while female characters were more likely than males to be seen in personal life-related roles only (39% vs. 21%). There could be no better argument for the general public's desire for well-written female characters. Men over 40 were still able to procure lead roles at a respectable rate of 46 percent, while women of the same age made up only 29 percent of total roles.

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