Hollywood still has a major diversity problem

August 6, 2015, 2:46 PM UTC
US-ENTERTAINMENT-HOLLYWOOD SIGN-MAKEOVER
The freshly painted Hollywood Sign is unveiled after a press conference to announce the famous landmark's major makeover, December 4, 2012 in Hollywood, California. Some 360 gallons (around 1,360 liters) of paint and primer were used to provide the iconic sign with it most extensive refurbishment in almost 35 years in advance of it's 90th birthday next year. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Bobyn Beck — AFP/Getty Images

Hollywood has a problem: it’s mostly all white men.

From 2007 to 2014, only 30.2% of 30,835 speaking characters were female. That means there was roughly one female for every 2.3 male actors in a film, according to a new study out of the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

That doesn’t even get into the issue of race or ethnicity. In 2014, 73.1% of characters in the top 100 films were white. Middle Easterners and Latinos had some of the worst showings, holding 2.9% and 4.9% of the roles, respectively.

The report looked at 700 popular films released over 7 years, examining the mix of gender and race on screen and behind the camera. All speaking characters were counted and assessed for demographics, domestic traits and hyper-sexualization.

Not only are women and minorities sidelined over their white male peers, but age matters, as well. (Even Amy Schumer has poked fun at this fact.) Last year, there wasn’t a single movie among the top 100 fictional films that starred a woman over 45 years of age.

Top older actresses that may come to mind didn’t hold the starring roles. Meryl Streep, who is 66-years-old and graced the screen in films such as “Into the Woods” and “The Giver” last year, held only supporting roles.

The findings aren’t new; diversity issues have plagued movies and television for years. But it’s a good reminder that even in a year that featured diverse leads in films such as “Selma,” “The Hunger Games,” and “Divergent,” American entertainment remains a homogeneous field.