Between 2003 and 2009, the number of roles for older women in film and on television more than doubled. Rebecca Keegan of the Los Angeles Times wrote:
According to the Screen Actors Guild, in 2003 women older than 40 accounted for 11 percent of the female film and TV roles (excluding reality shows); by 2009 that number was up to 28 percent. There’s still a gender gap when it comes to age in Hollywood — men in the over-40 category nabbed 42 percent of the roles last year, but older actresses are gaining ground.
Although 28 percent is far from a majority, we have to celebrate the fact that in the 21st century actresses over 40 years of age are being taken much more seriously. Keegan speculates that there is a growing awareness in the movie industry of the untapped potential of older audiences, especially female ones. The women who helped drive box-office hits like The Blind Side, The Devil Wears Prada and Sex and the City would rather go out and watch Meryl Streep flirt with Alec Baldwin than stay home and play on their X-Boxes like the young adults that studios so often court.
Meryl Streep, Diane Lane, Demi Moore, Helen Mirren, Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Julia Roberts, and Sandra Bullock are just a few of the women who are chipping away at the glass ceiling in Hollywood. As consumers, we can affect change via our movie choices. Let’s make 2011 the year these leading ladies smash that tired old ceiling altogether.