What’s the Issue?

The Social Imperative

The stories that we choose to tell in entertainment media send a specific message about who matters most in our culture. In order to bring about a global culture change, it is especially important that children see diverse, intersectional representations of characters in media to reflect the population of the world—which is half female and very diverse— and avoid unwittingly instilling unconscious bias in them.

Media Influences Young Minds

Youth are the highest consumers of media and the group most impacted by media content. A report from Common Sense Media finds that tweens use an average of six hours of entertainment media per day, while teens use an average of 9 hours per day.


We have achieved a historic milestone: for the first time, lead female characters have reached parity in the top-100 grossing family films! However, as Women and girls are 51% of the population there is a 2:1 ratio of male characters to female characters across Advertising, Film and Television. This means that even though we have achieved gender parity for leads, further progress is needed to make sure the fictitious worlds created reflect the population.

  • #ScullyEffect: Nearly two-thirds (63%) of women that work in STEM say the character of Dana Scully from The X-Files served as their role model
  • In a survey of 1,000 women in the UK and US respondents, 66% said they have actively switched off films or TV show if they felt they were negatively stereotyping them, while 1 in 4 women said that they had stopped watching a film/TV show because there weren’t enough female characters, rising to nearly half (46%) of US Millennials.
  • 7 in 10 girls say that Katniss from The Hunger Games and Princess Merida from Brave influenced their decision to take up archery. Nearly half (48.5%) of female respondents under 18 say Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games had “a lot” or “some” influence on their decision to take up archery, while one-third (36.4%) say they were influenced by Princess Merida from Brave.

Representation Matters

People around the world are demanding to see themselves better represented in the media and entertainment. They want to see the true diversity of their communities depicted more often and more accurately across many areas, including race, gender, sexual orientation, and people with disabilities.

Intersectional Representation Has Stark Inequities

  • People of color are 38% of our US population BUT only 30% of family films feature a lead of color and 31.9% of children’s TV episodes feature a lead of color.
  • 4.5% of people identify as LGBTQIA+ in the US BUT the percentage of family films with an LGBTQIA+ lead averages less than 1% for the last decade.
  • 18.7% of people have a physical or cognitive disability in the US BUT they only averaged about 1% of the leads in family films.
  • People 60+ make up 19% of the American public BUT only 9.1% of characters in family films and only 3.5% of leading characters.
  • 40% of American adults have large body types according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BUT only 8.3% of characters are of large body type.

The Business Imperative

Doing Good is Good for Business!

  • Positive depictions have instant impact and on screen portrayals are easy to fix.
  • Content with diverse characters not only attract audiences but can attract a wide range of audiences, which plays an important educational role, but also provides an opportunity to see box office success.
  • In a recent Facebook survey of consumers, online campaigns with more diverse representation tend to have higher ad recall compared with campaigns featuring a single traditional representation. And in more than 90% of the simulations we ran, diverse representation was the winning strategy for ad recall lift.
  • In a survey of 4,300 women in nine countries, 61% said female role models in film and TV have been influential in their lives; 58% said that women have been inspired to be more ambitious or assertive; 25% said that positive female role models had given them the courage to leave an abusive relationship.
  • When it comes to worldwide box office figures, family films with female leads have steadily increased in revenue, hitting a historic high averaging $279.6 million in 2019.
  • Worldwide box office revenues for family films with leads of color have steadily increased in the past decade, rising from $82 million in 2007 to $182.8 million in 2019.

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