13 February 2013

Number-crunching sexism

Ganked from an inconvieniently formatted source.

I was watching children’s titles with my daughter when she was age two, and I have a spidey-sense on female roles in media. There were so few girls and women in the programs made for children. When I spoke with media executives, they uniformly told me ‘that problem has been fixed.’ I had to open their eyes. This is when I found my calling as a data hound.

She hired teams to count faces in movies, from lead roles, to speaking parts to crowd scenes.

When you look at the important sectors of society, you find a peculiar leveling out of women at 17% of the total. Congress 17%, narrators of movies, Fortune 500 Boards, cardiac surgeons, members of the animator’s guild – all 17%. So we counted female faces in crowd scenes and group scenes in movies. 17%.

When you see women on TV and film, career choices skyrocket. We have plenty of women becoming forensic scientists now. We need no further work to get them in TV roles.

But in other STEM roles, women are just 6% to the total. And at the current pace of change, we would reach parity in 700 years. I think we can cut that in half!

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