The percentage of female leads in top-grossing films rose from 31% to 40%. Of the female protagonists, 44% appeared in studio features and 55% appeared in independent features.
According to Dr Martha Lauzen, the study's author, this change indicates a positive turn in female representation.
"We have now seen two consecutive years of substantial gains for female protagonists, indicating the beginning of a positive shift in representation," Dr Martha tells Variety Magazine.
However, in terms of women from underrepresented groups, the numbers are not as indicative of progress.
Black women's speaking roles have decreased from 21% to 20% in 2019. Asian female characters dropped from 10% in 2018 to 7% in 2019.
Overall, only 18% of major female roles were black, 6% were Latina and 5% were Asian.