Seven charts show how Bollywood depicts women

An international study finds that women in Indian movies are made to emphasise their sex appeal, but are unlikely to have professions.

Much has been made of the objectification of women in Indian cinema but here’s a study that actually quantifies how Bollywood treats its female characters. An analysis by the Geena Davis Institute on Women in Media finds that at least a third of the women characters in films released in between the beginning of 2010 and the first half of 2013 were some sort of scantily dressed.

The study analyses popular films from the ten countries with the most profitable motion picture markets and the role of women in them. For most part, women are far less represented than men in front and behind the camera. In almost all film industries a large number of women are used for supportive, decorative and sexualised roles and universally, women in films cannot escape the emphasis on their looks.

India lags far behind other countries in simply the number of women characters in films. The study finds that less than a quarter of all speaking or named characters were women and none had lead roles.

In India, far more than in other countries, women have to be attractive or be made attractive to be on the screen. The study defined attractiveness as “verbal/non-verbal utterances that communicated the physical desirousness of another character”. India was also above the average in terms of the percentage of female characters that were shown wearing something skimpy or with some nudity. Other countries with movies that emphasised sexiness are Australia and Germany.

What Indians don’t care too much for is having thin women on screen. Only 18% of female Indian film characters were thin as opposed to the average 38% in other film industries.

What’s perhaps most reflective of the supporting roles that women play in most Indian movies are their professions ‒ or rather lack of them. The study analysed how many female characters held jobs in technical fields like science and engineering. Indian films don’t score well, at a meager 8%.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.