Women in Media in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

The role that women play in media has become a hotly-discussed topic in recent years, with some alleging that there is an unfair bias towards men in this industry, both in terms of the opportunities they get and the money they receive. This can be most acutely be seen in Hollywood, where the battle of the sexes re-emerges during every awards season. Since 2010, only two of the 35 film-makers nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Director have been female, and, in 2015, females made up just 19 percent of the non-acting Academy Award nominees.


When it comes to women in front of the camera, they are often cast in stereotypically female roles, such as that of a nurse or secretary. In contrast, only three percent of movie roles credited as “soldier” and five percent of “engineer” roles were played by women between 1995 and 2015. This discrepancy also extends to some of the most recognizable faces in world cinema. Jennifer Lawrence was the world’s best paid movie actress in 2016, taking home a cool 46 million U.S. dollars, 13 million U.S. dollars more than her closest rival, Melissa McCarthy. However, these earnings would not earn her a place in the top five in the list of the best-paid actors worldwide in 2016. This list is topped by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who bagged 64 million U.S. dollars for the year, thanks to his roles in Furious 7 and San Andreas, among others.

Turning to the small screen, 38.1 percent of all characters on streaming shows and 36.4 percent on broadcast television shows in 2014 and 2015 were women. However, of those characters on broadcast network programming, only 22 percent were from a non-White background, suggesting that the industry has some way to go to address its issues of diversification.

Journalism has also failed to shake off its image of being a traditionally male-dominated industry, as almost 63 percent of newspaper jobs are occupied by men. This trend can be seen across some of the largest newspapers in the United States, with The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post all having a workforce which is over 60 percent male. Furthermore, in 2016, a female within the publishing industry could expect to earn on average 35 thousand U.S. dollars less per year than a male counterpart.

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