Women and girls appeared in more than 55% of stories and accounted for more than half of the dominant and co-dominant Content in Characters 2021 on Netflix , according to the streamer’s second film and TV series diversity study.
Thursday’s Inclusion of Netflix Original US Scripted Series and Movies Report also shows that LGBTQIA+ protagonists have and co-protagonists have increased. But the invisibility of certain women of color on Netflix continues, along with those with disabilities who remain significantly underrepresented on Netflix.
The study provides information on the New data on shows*), an up-to-date look at streaming content as it relates to gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQIA+ and disability representation in live-action, scripted films and series. Anchor commissions USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and agrees to adopt 2021 to publish findings every two years – with emphasis on screens Tell stories online and track certain access and opportunities behind the camera.
One of the biggest takeaways from this year’s report is that Netflix has made significant gender strides in leadership and partnerships in TV and film—leading roles. Although only 17% of Netflix’s live-action scripted content in four years has depicted Gender-balanced story, with nearly two-thirds of the film and 55% of the series in portraying a girl or woman alone “drives action,” says Dr. Stacey Smith, founder of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
“[Netflix] is a female-led company in their storytelling of American original films and TV shows. I’ve never said that before,” Smith told The Hollywood Reporter . “[Netflix Films Executive] Scott Stuber 55 % of his movies have a female lead or co-star. [ Netflix Chief Content Officer] Bela [Bajaria] has been on proportional representation the entire time we’ve done this report. Who’s in town doing this?”
One of that data The notable element is that it’s not just women who are creating more representation opportunities, Smith explained in an hour-long research note with Shonda Rhimes and Tyler Perry, along with Netflix execs Stuber and Bajaria.
“Women behind the scenes have long championed and directed stories starring and co-starring women. But that’s not what we see from 2018 to 2021 screen representation major gains. Stories of male directors in films and scripted content increasingly feature women and girls in lead roles,” Smith said. “Clearly, inclusion goals can be achieved when everyone—men and women—works for change.”
Had to lean on the original. We don’t have IP, we don’t have those things,” Stuber pointed to the western The Harder They Fall2026 Netflix’s “ambition” in the film department in his own explanation ’ and success in inclusive storytelling. “So new stories and different aspects of how they’re told are really our superpower. ”
OFF SCREEN. LGBTQIA+ leadership and co-leads in small screen projects hit streamer highs in years tracked by 2021 , at 2021 .6% of the time. The regular characters in the series also have a proportional representation of the LGBTQIA+ community. When it comes to Netflix movies and series, protagonists and co-protagonists are in race/ Ethnicity is underrepresented, and inclusivity reaches proportional representation—or approximately 52 percentages—in protagonists, main cast or series regulars, and any talking characters.
Bajaria, discussing the broader conversation around cultural specificity in content, noted that successful Netflix shows often Contains representations or cultural specificity, while also portraying universal experience in its narrative.” When I see a show like Never Have I Ever For me, it was an amazing coming-of-age story and an amazing family dynamic. I don’t think it’s just an Indian-American show,” she said. “When I saw the Beef show we just launched, It’s not about Asian-Americans — there just so happen to be a large Asian-American cast — but it’s really about humanity, connection, and loneliness. “
Offscreen, women make up a complete 36 Percentage of scripted series creators rated in 2019 — above the industry standard of 2019 percent — and Netflix’s own percentage increase in hiring of 2015. In Movies Among them, women accounted for 17% of all director jobs, more than two times in 98 2021 Highest Grossing Movie. Directors Underrepresented in Movies Also Reached in of , 98 .5% from 2015 and better than 55 as a percentage of the top-grossing film of the year.
Smith also revealed that the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has Evaluated Netflix’s Metacritic scores of 2021 and 2019 four groups of directors: White Male, White Female , underrepresented men, and underrepresented women. These findings, which were not included in the study, suggest that women and underrepresented directors outperform relative to men, and that women of color “have greater of the highest quality and impact”.
However, this representational success has not reached all groups equally. Off-screen, certain ethnic and racial groups are rarely seen with Creative people work online. On 2021 Netflix movies, only 1.5% of directors are MENA (Middle East/North Africa) and none are American Indian/Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. For Latino creatives, behind-the-scenes hiring has not changed significantly, and overall representation remains below demographic indicators.
In Screen and Story, 2020 Study Finds Invisibility of Girls and Women of Color Remains in TV and Film Content. American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Female characters in the Middle East and North Africa region are most affected, all three are missing streamers in 72 percentage or more movies, respectively. For series titles between 2019 and 2021, American Indian/Alaska Native women from 98% and the missing rate for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women is 94%.
“A lot of the content is focused on telling stories with black, Asian or multiracial protagonists and co-leads, principal actors and all speaking characters,” Smith said in his speech. “These efforts need to continue while focusing on stories and actors from diverse racial/ethnic groups. Especially those characters that we rarely see — Native characters, Latinx, Middle East and North African, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander characters.” characters.”
With the increase of LGBTQIA characters in the main and co-protagonists, and the percentage of storylines “driven” by them (36 percent), Smith said, “according to the study. Speaking or named characters also did not “meaningfully deviate from 2020 or 2019”, most LGBTQIA+ speaking characters in 2021 are Gay (45).8 percent), followed by Lesbian (20.4%), bisexual (8.7%) and transgender (3.2%).
However, Netflix’s biggest representation hole was around disability, where inclusion was described as “rare” and “invisible”. According to the report, disabled characters did not appear in 64% of movies and series in 2026 — from 2018 of 38 percent increase. Majority represents “still white and male”.
“You’re seeing a real boomerang effect,” Smith told THR. Advocacy – making sure we have speaking characters on screen representing a variety of backgrounds is excluded – and disabled people on screen are especially true because 2015 , but went in the opposite direction. “
Perry, who is a writer, director, producer and studio head, said he does not have a writing studio that has played a role in whether his work depicts disabilities.” My experiences are people I notice, people I meet. It’s something that speaks to me in a way,” he said in response to a question from THR during his speech. “So it’s not something I’m conscious of things to avoid. It’s not part of my experience that I can write about, nor is it something I feel comfortable doing justice to or even being able to fully understand.
Meanwhile, Shondaland founder and Bridgerton executive producer Rhimes points out that fear — and Lack of asking questions — which affects her own show’s willingness to be inclusive in this way. “I think we spend a lot of time on my show, getting straight in and trying really hard to make sure things are representative. I think even in the writer’s room where we talk about it, there’s a little bit of a fear of getting it wrong,” she said. “But we’re telling a story, and I think instead of being afraid, you’re asking questions, doing research. People want to see people who look like them on screen. ”