A new study has revealed that just nine out of 116 artificial intelligence (AI) professionals in films are women. The research, conducted by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, found that only 8% of AI characters were female and 92% male.
The findings come as Hollywood continues to grapple with gender inequality on screen and behind the scenes. While there have been some positive steps forward – such as a record number of female directors working in 2019 – this latest report shows how far we still have to go when it comes to representation for women in tech-related roles.
The study looked at the top 100 grossing movies from 2018 and 2019, examining all characters who had an occupation related to AI or robotics engineering. Of these 116 characters, only nine were female (7%). This is despite the fact that women make up around half of all computer science graduates worldwide.
This lack of representation is particularly concerning given how influential film can be when it comes to shaping public perceptions about certain professions and industries. By not showing more diverse representations within these fields, filmmakers are sending a message that they are dominated by men – which could discourage young girls from pursuing careers in STEM subjects like coding or robotics engineering later on down the line.
Dr Stacy L Smith, director at USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative said: “When media fails to depict females working alongside males in technical roles like those involving AI or robotics engineering, audiences may perceive these jobs as being off limits for them.” She added: “It’s critical for creators across platforms to show balanced depictions so viewers understand what equitable workplaces look like.”
Dr Smith also highlighted another worrying trend; while 9% of AI professionals depicted onscreen were female – none were over 40 years old – suggesting ageism was also playing a role here too.
The findings echo previous studies into gender inequality within other areas such as directing and producing where similar disparities exist between men and women both onscreen and offscreen . It’s clear then that much more needs to be done if we’re going achieve true parity across all aspects filmmaking industry – including those related specifically with technology .
To help address this issue , organisations such as Women Who Code , Girls Who Code , Black Girls Code , Technovation Challenge , ReelGirls Media Academy offer invaluable resources aimed at inspiring young people interested in exploring careers within tech-related fields . Additionally initiatives such as #SeeHerTech provide support networks for existing professionals looking progress their career paths further .
Ultimately though it will take concerted effort from everyone involved ; studios producers writers actors directors etc if real change is going happen . As Dr Smith concluded : “We need content creators across platforms — film television streaming —to commit themselves creating stories featuring powerful females who work with technology .” Only then will we start see meaningful shift towards greater inclusion diversity both front back camera when it comes depicting tech-related roles films moving forward .