Given that Patricia Arquette used her platform at this year's Oscars to make an impassioned stand for equal pay between the sexes, it's especially disappointing to learn that 2014 was a particularly bad year for female characters in film. The Silk applied the Bechdel Test to 1500 movies from the previous five years, and only 55.4% of last year's passed the test – the lowest result since 2009.
If you're not familiar with the Bechdel Test, it is a popular way of determining whether or not there is gender inequality in movies. To pass, a film must have at least two women in it who talk to each other about something other than a man.
According to The Silk's report, most pass-rates sit between 60-65% but just over half of the films surveyed from last year passed the test. 1998, 2002 and 2009 were also low-scoring years from the past two decades.
Examples of films released last year that passed the test include box office hits Pride, Paddington, and Interstellar. Among those that didn't were American Sniper, 22 Jump Street and The Grand Budapest Hotel (which notably cleaned up at the Oscars. Sorry, Patty).
While The Bechdel Test doesn't definitively judge whether or not a film is or isn't gender biased, or whether or not it has an empowered female role, (Fifty Shades Of Grey has already passed the test, FYI) The Silk's article also highlights that in 44% of movies from 2014, the female characters talked only about men, too.
Come on, Hollywood. It’s 2015. Let's have some brilliant, complex and intriguing female characters at the centre of these narratives – it’s what the cinema-going, movie-watching public want.