Geena Davis, star of ground-breaking female road movie Thelma & Louise and US presidential drama Commander in Chief, spoke out against gender inequality at the 2015 London Film Festival. The Academy Award-winning actor’s Institute on Gender in the Media is the only research based organisation working within the entertainment industry, and focuses on bringing light to gender biases, stereotyping, and casual sexism within the industry, whilst promoting a more diverse range of female characters in film and television. Davis reveals that despite great strides forward in gender representation, the ratio of male to female roles in film remain 3-to-1; a split that has not changed since 1946.
A separate study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film recently found that in the top 100 films of 2014, only 12% of protagonists featured were female. This represents a 3% drop from the previous year. With such limited roles in film for women, male perspective gains bias in the very early development of children. Davis comments that this division is making women “second-class citizens”.
Other celebrities have recently spoken out about difficulties they have experienced as women in the film industry, with Helen Mirren calling out Hollywood’s ageist attitude towards female actors, whilst Viola Davis, star of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, discussed how without diverse representation racist attitudes will continue to hold sway over the movie business.
During her Emmy Award acceptance speech the actor, stated “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there”. Check out the Geena Davis interview (courtesy of the BBC) for some truly shocking facts about female representation in film: Geena Davis BBC interview on sexism