Yes, you’re seeing more female characters on TV, according to a new study. : NPR


The cast of Showtime yellow jackets is predominantly female.

Brendan Meadows/Brendan Meadows/SHOWTIME


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Brendan Meadows/Brendan Meadows/SHOWTIME

Yes, you're seeing more female characters on TV, according to a new study. : NPR

The cast of Showtime yellow jackets is predominantly female.

Brendan Meadows/Brendan Meadows/SHOWTIME

Women are making progress in the TV industry, with a slight increase in the number of women working both onscreen and behind the scenes, a new study shows.

The directory framed A San Diego State University study looked at more than 3,000 characters and over 3,800 credits during the 2021-2022 TV season to determine the number of women working both onscreen and behind it. the camera. They watched shows on major primetime broadcast networks and all the top streaming services.

Led by the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, the news is pretty bright for people who think women – about half of the population – deserve to play major characters and play key behind-the-scenes roles. .

Some takeaways:

•In 2021-22, streaming service programs featured a slightly higher percentage of female characters in speaking roles (47%) than broadcast network programs (45%). That’s a 2% increase for streamers from 2020-21 and no change for streamed programs.

•Women accounted for 50% of main characters in streaming programs compared to 48% in broadcast network programs. This represents a 3% increase for broadcasters and a 2% decrease for streamers compared to 2020-21.

• Broadcast network programs had higher percentages of black (28%) and Latino (7%) female characters in lead roles than streaming service programs (21% and 3%, respectively). The streaming programs included a higher percentage of Asian and Asian American women than those on the broadcast networks (15% vs. 10%).

•Women made up 37% of people working in key behind-the-scenes roles on streaming programs, but 31% on broadcast network programs.

Ageism in Hollywood is as old as the hills

“It’s like you go from sexy to dependent,” Brooke Shields told NPR earlier this year. “And there’s this whole margin in the middle that…is vibrant.” The Boxed In study has supporting data.

“Around the age of 40, female characters begin to disappear in substantial numbers from broadcast and streaming programs,” the report concludes. “In broadcast programs, the percentage of adult female characters dropped from 42% in their 30s to 15% in their 40s. Similarly, in streaming programs, the percentage of adult women dropped from 33% in their 30s to 14% in their forties.”

Over 60? You probably don’t see yourself represented on screen at all, despite the fact that the American population is aging.

•Women aged 60 and over continue to be dramatically underrepresented. Women made up just 3% of the main female characters aged 60 and over in broadcast programs and 3% in streaming programs.

The absence of older women on screen is “such an outdated gender stereotype that I’m always surprised to see it persist in both television and film,” said Dr. Martha Lauzen, professor and executive director of the Center for the Study of Women. in Television and Film from San Diego State University. In an email to NPR, Lauzen added that the age disparity “has been consistent” since she began conducting the studies more than 20 years ago.


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