Women Are Underrepresented In Key Movie Positions, USC Study Finds

By Rebecca Keegan
Los Angeles Times.

“Frozen,” Disney’s animated musical about a pair of royal sisters, was last year’s highest-grossing film worldwide, and also one of its most unusual, according to a study released Thursday by researchers at University of Southern California.

That’s because one of its directors, Jennifer Lee, is female, and so are its lead characters.

Just 1.9 percent of the directors of 2013’s top-grossing films were women, a six-year low, and just a quarter of all the speaking roles in animated films belonged to girls or women, researchers found.

The study by USC’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative, which evaluated more than 25,000 speaking characters in 600 top-grossing films between 2007 and 2013, found that women continue to be underrepresented both behind and in front of the camera, especially in the genres of animation and action-adventure.

“As Hollywood moves to more serialized content, comic books, tent-poles, this is where we see a big problem,” said USC Annenberg associate professor Stacy L. Smith. “Action-adventure and animation are pulling very heavily male.”

On screen, women were most represented in comedies, with films such as “The Heat,” “Pitch Perfect” and “Bridesmaids” helping drive up the percentage of female characters in that genre to 36 percent.

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