The number of female lead movie roles dropped in 2017

Female characters of colour, however, saw a slight increase

The number of female lead movie roles dropped in 2017, according to a new report.

Last year saw a number of highly successful female-led films, including Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Beauty And The Beast.

A study by San Diego’s Center For The Study Of Women In Television And Film has revealed that, despite that, women only comprised 24 percent of all lead roles in movies in 2017. The figure for 2017 was 29 percent, marking a five percent decrease.


As Digital Spy reports, the report also investigated how many films featured 10 or more female characters with speaking roles. The results showed only 32 percent of films included that number of female speaking roles, whereas a huge 79 percent of movies featured 10 or more male speaking roles.

The number of female roles in top-grossing movies stayed the same in 2017 as it was in 2016, with a figure of 37 percent. One slight positive change, however, came in roles for women of colour. Latina female characters rose by four percent to seven percent, black female characters went up from 14 percent to 16 percent, and Asian women in movies rose by one percent to seven percent.

Behind the camera, 45 percent of movies with a female director or writer had a female protagonist. However, only 20 percent of films with an all-male team featured a leading woman.

One of the aims of Time’s Up is to address gender inequality in the entertainment industry and beyond. The campaign’s website cites a statistic that says only four percent of the top-grossing directors between 2007 and 2016 were female, while only seven were women of colour. Only one in 1,114 directors over 1,000 movies was Latina.

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