Streaming TV Series Ahead of Broadcast in Featuring Women in Front of and Behind the Camera, Latest “Boxed In” Study Finds
- In Deadline Hollywood
- By Patrick Hipes
- October 18, 2022
In 2021-22, females comprised 50% of major characters on streaming programs and 48% on broadcast network programs. Streaming programs also had a slightly higher percentage of female characters in speaking roles than broadcast programs (47% vs. 45%). While broadcast network programs had higher percentages of Black female (28%) and Latina (7%) characters in major roles than programs on streaming services (21% and 3%, respectively), streaming programs included a higher percentage of Asian and Asian American females than those on the broadcast networks (15% vs. 10%). At about the age of 40, female characters begin to disappear in substantial numbers from both broadcast and streaming programs. On broadcast programs, the percentage of major female characters plummeted from 42% in their 30s to 15% in their 40s. Similarly, on streaming programs the percentage of major females dropped from 33% in their 30s to 14% in their 40s. Behind the scenes, streaming programs employed higher percentages of women than broadcast network programs. Women comprised 37% of individuals working in key behind-the-scenes roles on streaming programs but 31% on broadcast network programs. This includes creators, directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers. More specifically, women accounted for 38% of executive producers on streaming programs but 29% on broadcast programs. Women comprised 29% of directors working on streaming programs but 18% on broadcast programs.
In 2021-22, women comprised 39% of directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on independent films screening/streaming at high-profile film festivals in the U.S. Women accounted for 43% of those working in key behind-the-scenes roles on documentaries and 34% of those working on narrative features. Fests screened/streamed an average of 6 narrative films directed by at least one woman but an average of 10 films directed by men. However, the festivals streamed/screened almost equal numbers of documentaries directed by women (an average of 10) as by men (an average of 11). The study also reports the percentage of women working as composers in independent film. Overall, women comprised 17% and men 83% of composers. Female composers fared better on documentaries (20%) than narrative features (13%).
In the second box office year impacted by the pandemic, female characters accounted for 35% of major characters in the top 100 grossing films, down 3 percentage points from 38% in 2020 and 2 percentage points from 37% in 2019. Females comprised 34% of all speaking characters, down 2 percentage points from 36% in 2020 but even with the percentage in 2019. The percentage of films featuring female protagonists increased slightly from 29% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. This remained well below the 40% achieved in 2019 but is even with the percentage reached in 2018. 85% of films featured more male than female characters. Only 7% of films had more female than male characters, and 8% of films featured equal numbers of female and male characters. Regarding race and ethnicity, the percentage of Black females in major roles increased from 13.2% in 2020 to 16.4% in 2021. The percentage of major Latina characters doubled, rising from 5.7% in 2020 to 12.8% in 2021. The percentage of major Asian and Asian American females increased from 5.7% in 2020 to 10.0% in 2021. It should be noted that when films centered on Latina or Asian and Asian American characters were excluded from the analysis, the percentages of these characters reverted to 2020 levels, suggesting that the increases are largely due to their presence in a handful of films, rather than their integration in a wide variety of films. In 2021, the most foundational gender stereotypes lingered. Female characters were younger than their male counterparts, and more likely to have a known marital status. Male characters were more likely than females to have an identifiable occupation. Girls and women were more likely to have personal life-related roles and goals, whereas boys and men were more likely to have work-related roles, as well as anti-social goals, such as violence and crime. Films with at least one woman director and/or writer were more likely than films with no women in these roles to feature higher percentages of females as protagonists, in major roles, and as speaking characters. This year’s report also considers portrayals of girls and women in recently released films included on the Digital Entertainment Group’s Watched at Home List.