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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Study Finds Women Underrepresented in Foreign Films

The study found that only 10 percent of films had a gender-balanced cast.

Women have played iconic roles in the film industry, but today women and girls in the film industry are still outnumbered by men, according to a recent study by USC.

The study from the USC Media, Diversity, & Social Change initiative at Annenberg shows that less than a third of all speaking characters are female across 120 films in 11 worldwide countries.

The study included films from Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

“We examined films from some of the most profitable international territories," said USC Annenberg professor Stacy Smith in a press release. "The results illuminate that globally we have more than a film problem when it comes to valuing girls and women, we have a human problem.”

According to the results, Britain, Brazil and South Kores had the highest percentage of female characters. For films produced in India, 24.9 percent of characters were female characters. 

The study also shows that women played more sexualized roles than their male cast mates.

Katherine Pieper, one of the study authors stated in the press release, “Filmmakers make more than movies, they make choices, the findings from this study reveal that globally, these choices can mean that girls and women are left out of the picture.”

"I think they're really giving [women] a go in film and television," said Geanna Culbertson, a USC alumna visiting the USC School of Cinematic Arts. "In both film and television to have those characters become more prominent. And I think that as audiences respond positively, it's encouraging the studios to produce more."

About 100 students from various USC majors assisted in the study, which relied on USC diverse international population who were familiar with the countries they studied.

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