Measuring Women Representation and Impact in Films over Time

by   Luoying Yang, et al.

Women have always been underrepresented in movies and not until recently do women representation in movies improve. To investigate the improvement of women representation and its relationship with a movie's success, we propose a new measure, the female cast ratio, and compare it to the commonly used Bechdel test result. We employ generalized linear regression with L_1 penalty and a Random Forest model to identify the predictors that are influential on women representation, and evaluate the relationship between women representation and a movie's success in three aspects: revenue/budget ratio, rating and popularity. Three important findings in our study have highlighted the difficulties women in the film industry face in both upstream and downstream. First, female filmmakers especially female screenplay writers are instrumental for movies to have better women representation, but the percentage of female filmmakers has been very low. Second, lower budgets are often made to support movies that could tell good stories about women, and this usually cause the films to in turn receive more criticisms. Finally, the demand for better women presentation from moviegoers has also not been strong enough to compel the film industry for a change, as movies that have poor women representation can still be very popular and successful in the box office.


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