Lack of Women Over 30 in German TV and Film

Published: 26 July 2017

Country: Germany

German_Actress_FurtwanglerAfter the age of 30, women start to disappear from German screens. A recent study by the Rostock University reveals that in German film, more than half of the lead roles are male. Furthermore, 67% of protagonists on the TV – lead actors in TV series’, game show hosts, experts, spokespersons and journalists – are men.

Also, after the age of 50, the ratio of female to male appearances on TV and in film increases to three to one. Therefore, not only is there a disparity between younger men and women, but as they age, women become significantly more disadvantaged in the media profession, reveals the study.

The research initiated by 50-years old German actress Maria Furtwangler and conducted by Rostock University with the help of leading German broadcasting groups and film sponsors, exposed substantial gendered ageism in German audio-visual media.

The study also looks at children’s television and the results are alarmingly clear. The number of men featured on children’s TV is higher than that of women, with four male appearances for every female. The inequality between men and women in the media is most obvious in children’s television. This does not bode well for perceptions of women in the future.

Subtle, yet significant, gendered ageism in the media has far-reaching and negative effects on how older women are perceived in society. The patterns exposed in this study are repeated throughout the world, as revealed by Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) research. GMMP is also running an on-going campaign ‘End News Media Sexism’ which strives to tackle the issue of sexist discrimination in the media.