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Only one in five British women say they often see women like themselves on screen

  • However, almost three quarters (73%) of UK women feel that the representation of women has improved over the last ten years

New research from Sky has revealed attitudes towards the representation of women in film and TV. Only one in five women say they often see women like themselves represented on screen, falling to one in ten for women aged over 65.

The findings highlight the ongoing challenges women face with on-screen representation ahead of the Women in Film and TV Awards.

The survey findings suggest that the next generation may still find it hard to break the cycle, with less than half (38%) of women surveyed believing there are positive female role models presented for young girls.

However, thanks to the work of organisations such as Women in Film and TV there are signs of improvement.

Almost three quarters (73%) of women agree that representation has improved over the last ten years.

In the year that Arya Stark defeated the Night King in Game of Thrones, Ulana Khomyuk demanded the truth in Chernobyl and Captain Marvel flew on to the big screen, the characteristics respondents associated most with women on screen were ‘strong’ (37%), ‘powerful’ (26%) and ‘interesting’ (25%).
While representation is improving, the research also revealed there is a strong business case to be made for the industry going further. Over a third of women (37%) said they are more likely to watch films and television that feature women in leading roles, rising to 59% among under 35s.

Other findings include:

  • Two fifths (41%) of UK women do not think that women of all ethnic backgrounds are represented in film and television, rising to four fifths (77%) among black women
  • Majority of women (65%) said they felt female characters are often as complex and interesting as male characters

Women in the South West were the least likely to feel represented of any UK region, with only 15% saying they often see women like themselves on screen.

Debbie Klein, Sky’s Group Chief Marketing, Corporate Affairs and People Officer said:
“It’s absolutely vital that we continue to improve representation of women on screen. Recognising and promoting talent, writing complex and interesting roles for women and giving priority to shows that tell stories viewers haven’t heard before.

“The best way to inspire the next generation of young women is to give them ground-breaking role models to look up to. One of the reasons we’re delighted to be a long-term sponsor of the Women in Film and TV Awards on 6 December is that they’re already highlighting the best work of these inspiring women.”

About Sky
With 24 million customers across seven countries, Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Our 31,000 employees help connect our customers with the very best of Sports, News, the arts and to our own local, original content. Following the success of Sky originals like Chernobyl, Patrick Melrose, Das Boot and Gomorrah we launched Sky Studios and now plan to more than double our investment in original drama and comedy over the next five years.

Our technology allows customers to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, and as we connect millions of families to content they love, it is our responsibility to do it safely – that’s why we offer services like Sky Broadband Buddy and the Sky Kids app. And our online streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

We also believe that a company of our scale has a responsibility that goes beyond our business, and into the community. Our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign has reached millions across Europe, we’re on track to be free of single-use plastic by 2020, we’re investing £25million over five years in ocean-saving tech and we’re a proud employer – recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our approach to inclusivity.

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