Duke University Research Finds Women Do Not Have Prominent Roles in Many Films

A group of graduate students in the Data + Summer Research program at Duke University spent three weeks this summer analyzing 1,794 Hollywood movies released between 1970 and 2013. They rated each film on whether it passed the “Bechdel Test,” developed by cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985.

To pass the Bechdel test, a movie must satisfy three basic requirements: it must have at least two named women in it, they must talk to each other, and their conversation must be about something other than a man.

The authors of that study analyzed 1,794 movies released between 1970 and 2013. They found that more than 40 percent of all U.S. films failed the Bechdel test. The number of passing films rose steadily from 1970 to 1995 but then began to stall. In the past two decades, the proportion of passing films hasn’t budged.

A video about the Data+ Summer Research program can be seen below.

Filed Under: Research/StudyWomen's Studies


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