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Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the progress women everywhere have achieved in civil rights, society and their representation in the media… but how well does this progress translate to mainstream cinema?
To find out, Kegel8 analysed the top-grossing films from the past decade to see how many men and women starred in leading roles.
First, we looked at the promotional posters of the highest grossing films of the past decade and blanked out the male actors to show how prominently they feature in these timeless posters. It was immediately clear from the results just how much men dominate the marketing material for film releases.
We then looked at the number of male and female lead characters in the top ten grossing films of each year over the past decade. The results were shocking…
Total Leading Women in Highest Grossing Films
The graph above visualises the disparity between gender roles in blockbuster films. On average – over the past decade – there were 196% more male leading roles than female in Hollywood blockbusters.
Even with the increasing popularity of ensemble cast films featuring more female characters – and more films with female lead characters (like Wonder Woman) – there are still relatively few leading women in popular cinema.
The average number of men in leading roles over the past decade is 2.8, with the average number of women just 1.12. Sadly, this means for every leading woman, there are 2.5 leading men.
2017 showed signs of bucking the trend with a (comparatively) low gender gap. But there were still 75% more males than females. And 2018 suggested there might not be the progress we’d hoped, with 117% more men than women in leading roles – a larger difference than 8 years previously.
2012 was the by far the biggest offender, with its most popular flicks employing 525% more men than women in leading roles. Only 4 leading females starred in the highest grossing films of the year, with 25 males.
Here’s to hoping 2019 will bridge the gender gap…