What is the state of global inclusion today?

In 2021, Paramount Insights surveyed 15,000 consumers across the world to understand their perceptions of the state of on-screen representation and diversity. The resulting study, Reflecting Me, revealed that audiences craved better representation both on- and off-screen.

In 2023, as part of our Content for Change initiative, we set out to refresh our understanding and build upon those findings from two years earlier. In addition to a new global survey of consumers ages 13 to 49 in 15 countries, we spoke to a variety of leading figures shaping the global conversation around media and culture.

Here’s some of what we learned from this research about the current state of inclusion:

People value diversity and believe their societies are becoming more diverse. Most adults globally (88%) agree their country is diverse, and 90% agree that the diversity of society has either stayed the same or increased over the last 2 years. Today, 62% of adults identify with at least one marginalized identity, up from 51% in 2021. Alongside these changes is a widespread sentiment that acceptance is something to work towards. Most adults (85%) agree that it’s important for people to become more open minded and accepting.

At the same time, people around the world see their societies dividing rather than uniting, with the rights of marginalized groups under attack. People are more likely to believe the “togetherness of society” in their country is decreasing (35%) rather than increasing (25%), with 40% thinking it’s stayed the same. Close to 7 in 10 (68%) believe discrimination toward minority groups is a problem. LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, and those with non-conforming body types are perceived as facing the least societal acceptance.

The increasing societal division is in part a backlash to the progress of the last few years. Young males are driving some of this change. More than other demographics, males 13 to 24 differed from the overall global sample in their disagreement with several statements — that all people should have the right to live as whatever gender feels right to them (28% vs. 22%), that transgender people should have the same rights as everyone else (29% vs. 23%), in supporting same sex marriage (40% vs. 33%), and that there’s too much violence against women in their country (34% vs. 23%).

However, people aren’t letting go of their optimism for the future. They believe that society can move beyond these struggles and come together. Three-quarters of adults globally believe that changes are being made to increase acceptance of different cultures and perspectives. And they are twice as likely to believe people’s openness toward different cultures will increase rather than decrease.