Women Only Spoke '27 Per Cent Of Dialogue In 2016's Biggest Films

Blockbusters remain stubbornly, boringly male-dominated

Between the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters and two Star Wars blockbusters with female leads, you'd be forgiven for thinking the tide was finally turning for women in Hollywood.

But newly released statistics show how far we have to go in terms of having 50% of the world's population adequately represented in the films we watch: in 2016's 10 highest-grossing movies, only 27 per cent if dialogue was spoken by women and none of the casts were made up of 50% or more female speaking parts.

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Data compiled by scientist Amber Thomas on Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, The Secret Life of Pets, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Rogue One, Deadpool, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Suicide Squad found that big-budget releases remain stubbornly male-dominated.

Rogue One, despite having British actress Felicity Jones in the lead role, actually emerged as one of the worst of the ten: only 9% of its speaking character were female, with Jones accounting for 78% of all of it.

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Why does this matter? Well aside from what it says about equality of opportunity in the film industry, the fact that women are still predominantly kept in the 'seen but not heard' bracket means films are going to continue to be dull.

Tired rehashes and lazy sequels have dominated big budget blockbusters for decades now: an obvious way to inject fresh ideas and talent into a struggling industry is to unleash the creative power of not just female actors but writers and directors.

Will 2017 see an improvement? Two major female-led releases Star Wars: Episode VIII and Wonder Woman offer some hope, but while having a 'strong female lead' (surrounded by a cast of men) remains merely a trendy statement for film studios, we'll probably have to sit through a lot more guff before we see any real change.