2016 Statistics

TV Statistics | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

Women comprised 4% of directors on the top 100 films

In the top 100 films, women represented 29% of all sole protagonists

76% of all female characters in the top 100 films were white. 14% of all female characters were black, 6% were Asian American, and 3% were Latina.

Women Onscreen

Top 100 grossing films:

  • Females comprised 29% of all sole protagonists, 37% of major characters, and 32% of speaking characters.
  • 76% of all female characters were white.
  • 14% of all female characters were black. 6% were Asian American. 3% were Latina.
  • In films with at least one woman director or writer, females comprised 57% of protagonists, 38% of major characters, and 38% of speaking characters.
  • In films with exclusively male directors or writers, females accounted for 18% of protagonists, 30% of major characters, 29% of all speaking characters.
  • Female protagonists were almost evenly split between studio (52%) and independent features (48%).
  • Female protagonists were most likely to appear in comedies (28%), followed by dramas (24%), horror films (17%), animated features (14%), science fiction films (14%), and action films (3%).
  • Most female characters were in their 20s (23%) and 30s (32%), while most male characters were in their 30s (31%) and 40s (30%).
  • 54% of female characters had an unknown marital status (compared to 68% of males).
  • 78% of female characters had an identifiable job or occupation (compared to 86% of males). A substantially larger portion of male characters were seen in their work setting, actually working (61% males vs. 45% females).
  • Female characters were more likely to have goals related to their personal lives (46% vs. 25% males) and less likely to have work-related goals (54% vs. 75%).

Center for Study of Women in TV and Film

Top 900 films 2007-2016 (excluding 2011):

  • 12.5% of speaking characters were age 6 to 20. In 2010 20.4% of the U.S. population were children age 5 to 19.
  • 39.7% of elementary school and teen aged characters were female. The gender ratio is 1.52 male characters to every 1 female character on screen.
  • Gender parity was achieved in 2016, with younger females clocking in at 48.2% of all speaking or named roles.
  • Among those female characters, 77% were White, 3.8% Hispanic/Latino, 10.8% Black, 6.1% Asian, 1.9% mixed race/ethnicity, and <1% American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or Middle Eastern.
  • Focusing on female speaking or named characters age 6 to 20 across the top 200 films of 2015 and 2016, 89% did not depict one Black/African American, 92.5% did not portray one Asian/Asian American, and 94.5% of films did not include one Hispanic/Latina.
  • There were no female child or teen LGBT characters across 200 films from 2015–2016. 193 films were missing any speaking or named young female characters with a disability.
  • Female teens were almost four times as likely as male teens to be depicted wearing tight or alluring attire (39.5% vs. 10.2%). Teenaged females also were over twice as likely to be shown with some nudity (35% vs. 14.1%). Finally, teenaged females (60.7%) were more likely to be thin than teenaged males (38.4%).
  • 53.7% of the primary and secondary teen female characters were played by actors who did not match the age bracket of the character. All but one of these mismatches occurred when adult actors (age 21 and over) were cast to play teen roles.
  • 31.7% of young primary and secondary female characters were shown in a classroom setting or doing homework. Only 8.1% of females had discernible academic interests or goals. 15.4% of younger females were referenced as intelligent within the course of the films studied.
  • 12.2% of female characters mentioned or were shown taking part in science, technology, engineering, or math activities. Four of the characters in STEM were elementary-age girls, while 11 were teens. Eleven of the female characters with STEM activity were White, one of the teens was Hispanic/Latino, and three females (two teen, one elementary) were from Other Racial/Ethnic backgrounds.
  • Just 7.3% of the elementary or teenage female characters assessed remarked on professional aspirations. Only 5 characters gave explicit or implicit indication that they had a role model — 4 were White and 1 was Black.
  • 35.8% of girls and teens were shown doing chores during the course of the film. Virtually all (93.2%) of these characters engaged in stereotypically feminine chores.
  • 46.3% of the female characters participated in at least one leisure time or school-sponsored activity. Of the female characters who participated activities, 29.8% were involved in athletics. 24.6% of younger females were part of organized clubs or groups. Finally, 63.2% of girls and young women had other individual interests or activities.
  • 52.4% of the female teens evaluated had a romantic interest. The remaining 47.6% did not have a romantic attachment. These interests did not necessarily have to become romantic relationships — 23.8% teenage females clearly had a boyfriend in the movies examined. There were no LGBT female characters in the films examined; as a result, all relationships were with male characters.
  • 10.6% girls and young women were the victims of bullying activities. Another 9.8% were instigators or bullies, and 4.1% were bystanders or intervened when bullying occurred.

Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative


Women Behind the Scenes

Top 100 grossing films:

  • Women accounted for 14% of all directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers.
  • Women comprised 4% of directors.
  • Women accounted for 11% of writers.
  • Women comprised 13% of executive producers, 19% of producers, 14% of editors, and 3% of cinematographers.

Center for Study of Women in TV and Film

Top 250 grossing films:

  • Women comprised 7% of directors.
  • Women accounted for 13% of writers.
  • Women represented 17% of executive producers, 24% producers, 17% editors, 5% cinematographers, 3% composers, 8% supervising sound editors, 4% sound designers.
  • 58% of the films had no female executive producers. 34% had no female producers, 79% had no female editors, 96% had no female cinematographers, 97% had no female composers, 93% had no female supervising sound editors, and 97% had no female sound designers.
  • Women were most likely to work in the documentary (24%) and drama genres (20%), and least likely to work in the action (11%) and horror genres (12%).

Center for Study of Women in TV and Film

Top 500 grossing films:

  • Overall, women accounted for 19% of all directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers.
  • Women comprised 11% of directors.
  • Women accounted for 14% of writers.
  • Women comprised 19% of executive producers, 25% of producers, 20% of editors, and 7% of cinematographers.
  • On films with at least one female director, women comprised 64% of writers, 43% of editors, 16% of cinematographers, and 6% of composers.
  • On films with exclusively male directors, women accounted for 9% of writers, 17% of editors, 6% of cinematographers, and 3% of composers.

Center for Study of Women in TV and Film

Of the top-grossing 1,000 films from 2007 to 2016:

  • 4% of the directors were female–a ratio of 23.8 male directors for every female director.
  • Three female directors were black, three were Asian, and one was Latina.
  • Female directors of top-grossing movies work from their 30s to their 60s. In contrast, male directors work from their 20s to their 80s.
  • Of the 612 individual directors, only 5.7%  were women–a gender ratio of 16.5 male helmers to every female.
  • 80% of women made only one movie in the years studied, while 54.8% of men worked only once.
  • Male directors made as many as 14 films between 2007 and 2016, while the cap for female directors was four.
  • The company with the highest number of female-directed films is Warner Bros. (10).
  • 20th Century Fox, Sony, and Universal each released seven female-directed movies. Lionsgate and Paramount released the fewest movies with female directors, with only three each.
  • No company released at least one movie per year with a female director.

Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative

Of the 900 top films from 2007 to 2016 (excluding 2011):

  • Less than one-third of speaking characters on screen were girls/women
  • 47 films did not feature one Black or African American female
  • 66 movies did not include on Asian or Asian American female
  • 72 films did not depict one Hispanic/Latina female
  • 91 movies had not one LGBT female
  • Only 1.4% of composers were female

Out of the 1,006 directors hired on the 900 films studied:

  • Just 4.1% were female
  • Only 5.6% of the directors were Black or African American
  • A mere 3% were Asian or Asian American
  • 3 Black or African-American women and 2 Asian women worked as directors

Of the top 100 films of 2016:

  • Just 31.4% of characters were female
  • Characters from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups were 29.2% of all characters, which is not different from 2015
  • LGBT-identified characters represented 1.1% of all speaking characters, which is not different from 2015
  • Characters with disabilities filled only 2.7% of all speaking roles, which is not different from 2015

Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative

Of the uploaded Black List scripts with self-reported gender demographics:

  • Women writers comprised 29 percent of the uploaded scripts
  • Female writers host low-scoring scripts for far less time than male writers
  • Women writers tend to have more higher scoring scripts and fewer lower scoring scripts compared to men. This indicates that women submit only when a script is likely to score well.
  • Female writers tend to feel that there is implicit bias against female writers, which could curb submissions from women

The Black List

Of the independent films screened at 23 major U.S. film festivals in 2016-17:

  • Festivals screened an average of six narrative films directed by at least one woman compared with an average of 18 features directed by men
  • An average of seven documentaries directed by at least one woman screened, as compared to an average of 13 directed by men
  • 72% of those working in these key behind-the-scenes roles were males and 28% were females–a recent historical high. Women represented 25% of these roles in 2015-16   
  • The number of women directors increased slightly from 28% in 2015-16 to 29% in 2016-17
  • Women accounted for 31% of individuals working on documentaries versus 26% of those working on narrative features
  • Women accounted for 33% of directors on documentaries versus 25% of directors on narrative features  
  • On films with at least one female director, women comprised 74% of writers, 36% of editors, and 23% of cinematographers. On films directed by men, women accounted for seven percent of writers, 17% of editors, and six percent of cinematographers.

Center for Study of Women in TV and Film

For the top 10 grossing movies of 2016:

  • 47% of the opening weekend audience were people of color
  • Seven of the 10 delivered opening weekend audiences that were more than 50 percent non-white

LA Times