Gender discrimination spread by film industry, according to study

A global study backed by the United Nations has found that film-makers around the world have been contributing to gender discrimination by failing to find strong, assertive roles for women to play in.

The report was revealed yesterday by the actor and activist Geena Davis, and found that less than one-third of all the speaking role were given to women, and even then it was roles not in positions of power.

22.5% of the fictional big screen workforce was seen to consist of female workers, and less than 15% were seen as in big career positions, such a business executives, political figures, or in the technology and engineering fields.

The study was done by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and had revealed “deep-seated discrimination and pervasive stereotyping of women and girls by the international film industry.” Genna Davis herself said: “The fact is: women are seriously under-represented across nearly all sectors of society across the globe, not just on-screen, but for the most part we’re simply not aware of the extent. In the time it takes to make a movie, we can change what the future looks like.

“There are woefully few women CEOs in the world, but there can be lots of them in films. How do we encourage a lot of girls to pursue science, technology and engineering careers? By casting droves of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), politics, law and other professions today in movies.”

The study had analysed popular movies from countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, United States, United Kingdom and more, showing that women were twice as likely to be shown in a hypersexual manner than men were.

The study was called “a wake-up call” for the film industry by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “With their powerful influence on shaping the perceptions of large audiences, the media are key players for the gender equality agenda,” she said. “With influence comes responsibility.”

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