5. Look for gender bias in movies and TV

Reflect on the last movie or TV show that you watched. How many female characters (with names) were in it? Did they talk to each other? About something other than a man? These questions form what is called the Bechdel Test.

  • Watch this two-minute clip about the Bechdel Test, then tell a friend or colleague about whether the film you watched passes the test!
  • Take a look at this article exploring how some of our favourite films represent women.
  • Read this short article about other ways to measure gender bias (and other biases) in films
  • Watch this video to learn how gender stereotypes in movies and TV impact young people and children

How does it help?

The Bechdel Test draws attention to gender bias and sexism in movies and on TV, including the invisibility of women in film and the harmful ways in which women are often portrayed.

Many films and TV shows portray women in stereotyped, sexualised and objectified ways – reinforcing rigid gender roles and stereotypes and inequality between women and men. Gender inequality is recognised internationally as a root cause of violence against women.

Keep going!

There are lots of ways you can continue to challenge gender bias in movies and TV:

  • Vote with your wallet; boycott films and TV shows that perpetuate gender bias and stereotypes about women.
  • Support films made by women and about women.
  • Read this report by Screen Australia to learn about gender bias in the Australian film and television industry and look here to learn about the steps being taken to improve this.

Sign up to the email bulletins from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, to keep up to date about gender inequality in media news.


Please note that these clips/articles contain information regarding the topics of sexism, gender inequality and violence against women. If you find the information distressing, please click through for information and support on self care. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please visit the our help section for further information and support.