Smartphone with Netflix logo is seen in front of a descending stock graph Image Credit: Reuters

Netflix Inc. has increased the number of Asian and women in lead roles, but still lags in representing Latinos, the disabled and women of colour, a study by the streaming platform and the University of Southern California (USC) found.

While Hollywood has made strides in diversity in recent years, some communities criticise the lack of progress, both on and off screen.

To understand the lack of representation in the industry, Netflix partnered with USC and founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Dr. Stacy L Smith, to analyse the inclusion metrics of the streaming service from 2018 to 2021 based on gender, race/ethnicity and disability.

The study released on Thursday showed increased opportunities for women in lead roles, directing and key creative jobs.

However, Netflix still lacks significant representation of characters with disabilities, gender-balanced storytelling in series, roles for girls and women of colour and opportunities for women writers.

Despite 27 per cent of the US population identifying as disabled, only 1.1 per cent of all characters in Netflix films and series have a disability, the study found.

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Latinos, who make up 12 per cent of the US population, acted in 4.5 per cent of main cast roles on Netflix in 2021, up from 2.6 per cent in 2018. That compares with 17.1 per cent for Black actors and 9.4 per cent for Asian actors.

Only 1.9 per cent of writers for Netflix films have been Latino, the study said.

Asian casting has improved markedly, with 41.5 per cent of Netflix series having an Asian lead or co-lead in 2021, after making up only 4 per cent of leads and co-leads in both films and series in 2018.

Shows featuring girls and women have increased significantly, from 46.4 per cent in films and 50.6 per cent in series in 2018 to 55 per cent for both in 2021.