Every time a new study about the state of women in movies (in front of the camera and behind the scenes) comes out, I cross my fingers and hope Hollywood has finally woken up to the realization that women make up 50% of the global population and should make up 50% of the film industry population too. BUT ALAS ... it is 2014 and, according to this study [pdf] conducted by Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, that does not seem to be the case.
The good news is that when women direct and write movies, the number of female characters increases. The bad news is that only 20% of writers and 7% of directors are women, which kinda/sorta/totally explains why only 31% of speaking roles in movies go to female characters. Even worse, female characters are five times more likely to have their appearance commented on in a film than male characters are, which means that what speaking time female characters do get is often wasted discussing their appearance rather than the plot. *LOUD ANGRY SIGH*
If you found that as upsetting as I did, scroll to the bottom for a great quote by real-life badass Hollywood heroine Geena Davis about one thing Hollywood can do to change things for the better — and not just in movies, either.