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Gender Disparities in Media and Entertainment Industries

For decades, corporate America has had limited female representation in the media and entertainment industry, as top roles have long been out of their reach. Gender pay gaps, little to no consideration for highly anticipated movies and TV shows, and unequal treatment within the workplace are just a few barriers that female stars face. Highly disparaging to the eye of a woman in media, recent research studies have demonstrated that more than 30% of females in this industry have experienced sexist attitudes, sexual assault, and harassment, having further been offered roles solely for their sexual appeal.

In addition, gender discrimination is evident in media content, as films often incorporate stereotypical portrayals of men and women, with men in dominant positions. Women are often portrayed merely as homemakers and caretakers of the family, dependent on men, or as objects of male attention. While efforts have been made to create female protagonists who are strong and independent, the aforementioned stereotype remains. Men are also subjected to stereotyping in media and entertainment, leaving little room for alternative visions of masculinity. The media tends to demean men in caring or domestic roles, or those who oppose violence. Such portrayals can influence perceptions in terms of what society may expect from men and women, but what they may expect from themselves as well — especially as they promote an unbalanced vision of the roles of women and men in society.

Despite this treatment disparity, women are making slow but steady progress towards equality in media and entertainment. New research says two-fifths of films in 2019 had female protagonists, which was a record high; last year, 40% of the 100 highest-grossing films featured a female protagonist – the largest percentage ever. Women accounted for 37% of major characters, up one percentage point on the previous year. However, the avenue to such equities should not stop here — much more needs to be done to close Hollywood’s gender gap.

Written by: Rachel Lee (Youth Ambassador)


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