(NEW YORK) — A report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University shows that in 2019, females have made “unprecedented gains” in representation on the big screen.
Dr. Martha Lauzen, executive director of the school’s center, and the study’s author, crunched the numbers for the top 100 domestic grossing films in 2019.
She discovered the percentage of females starring in the top grossing films of the year shot up from 31% in 2018 to 40% in 2019.
That historic high was born of the casts of female heavy hits like Avengers: Endgame, Frozen 2, and Crazy Rich Asians.
Via email, Dr. Lauzen explained to ABC Audio that her annual “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World,” study revealed that, “We have now seen two consecutive years of substantial gains for female protagonists, indicating the beginning of a positive shift in representation.”
She adds, “That said, it’s important to note that moviegoers are still almost twice as likely to see a male character as a female character in a speaking role.”
However, 68% of all female characters with speaking roles were white; 20% were Black, 5% were Latina, 7% were Asian, and 1% were of “some other race or ethnicity.”
Seventy-one percent of all male characters were white, 15% were Black, 5% were Latino, 6% were Asian, and 3% were “other.”
The report also notes, “[The ages of] female characters experience a precipitous drop from their 30s to their 40s, and few women age into their 60s,” she said.
The majority of female characters were in their 20s — 22% — and 31% were in their 30s.
By comparison, males 40 and over accounted for 47% of all male characters; females 40 and over made up only 30% of all female roles.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.