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.

READ MORE: Black women influencers get paid far less than their white counterparts, experts say

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.

Follow us on social media here:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

Sign up to W24's newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.