Over the past several years, the issue of diversity and representation in Hollywood has taken the spotlight. Most recently, the 4% Challenge was launched by Time's Up, which encourages filmmakers to work with a female director in the next 18 months. A study just released from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative shows that some of these intentional efforts to make the industry more diverse are paying off. The team at the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative examined the top 1,200 films from 2007 to 2018, and here are some of the notable results.
When looking at the top 100 domestic films of 2018, a total of 40 starred or co-starred a female, an 8% increase from 2017 and a 20% increase from 2007. That makes 2018 the year with the highest percentage of top films with women in these roles. And as we know, older women in Hollywood often find it more difficult to find roles as they age, but according to the study, 11 of the female actors co-starring in these films were at least 45 years old. That's more than double the number in 2017, which was an upsetting five.
Looking at racial and ethnic diversity in these top 100 films of 2018, there were also pretty big gains. Of the 40 films mentioned above starring/co-starring women, 11 of them were women from underrepresented groups. In 2017, there were only four. Wow, it's sad that 11 is such a huge improvement. Overall, a total of 28 of the 100 top films in 2018 starred an actor/actress from an underrepresented group. In 2017, there were 21, and back in 2007 there were only 13.
While these numbers are certainly moving in the right direction, they're still way under the actuality of the United States populations. So as we celebrate these gains, let's also continue to strive for even more diversity and representation in Hollywood.