Global Gender Bias in Media Revealed in New Report

“Gender Bias Without Borders" highlights the research of CPD University Fellow Dr. Stacy L. Smith (lead author) and her team at the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Commissioned by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the report investigates the prevalence and nature of female characters in popular films from 11 countries around the world and reveals one unifying theme: female characters are not equal to men and they are not aspirational in this sample of global films. “These results illuminate that globally, we have more than a film problem when it comes to valuing girls and women. We have a human problem,” said Smith.

Given these grim findings, a call to change is crucial. Girls and women comprise 50% of the world’s population, but represent far less of the international film populace. Only less than a third of all speaking roles in films across the globe are given to women - and females are twice as likely as males to be hypersexualised on camera. Gender-based discrimination and stereotyping of male and female characters is also a recurring theme. 

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka points to the influence of media, in entertainment as well as in the news:

  • In creating and sustaining perceptions and attitudes;
  • Shaping and solidifying social norms;
  • And as a potential force for good, just as currently a vehicle for misrepresentation.

The study shows that the film world confirms and deepens the biases of the real world. To download the report, please click here.


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