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Gender-Equal Ensemble

A Gender Equal Ensemble is an ensemble, team, band, family or other group of main characters, consisting of at least four members, that has the exact same number of males as it does females. This is normally done for either for reasons of advancing gender equality, attempting to appeal equally to both male and female demographics, or for reasons of balance and symmetry.

In a family scenario, this will often take the form of having a father, a mother, a son and a daughter, so that each standard role in a nuclear family has a representative. If the characters are not related to each other it can sometimes make it easier to each character to have a potential love interest.

Compare The Chick, Two Guys and a Girl, and Four Girl Ensemble. Contrast with The Smurfette Principle, The One Guy, Chromosome Casting and Affirmative Action Girl.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Gundam Wing has a primary cast of seven men (Heero, Duo, Trowa, Quatre, Wu Fei, Zechs, and Treize), and seven women (Relena, Hilde, Catherine, Dorothy, Sally, Noin, and Lady Une). Each of these characters also has a close relationship or strong bond with someone on the opposite sex list, making up the most common (non-gay) fan pairings; some of them are even Official Couples.
  • Bakugan used to have this, with three girls and three boys in the first season. Since then, it's been hit by the Smurfette Principle hard.
  • Princess Tutu has two guys (Fakir and Mytho) and two girls (Duck/Tutu and Rue/Kraehe). Bonus points for having one boy and one girl each as the protagonists/antagonists at any given time.
  • Fairy Tail has that during the Grand Magic Festival with both Fairy Tail teams. Both teams together have (including reserve members) six guys and six girls, both having each three guys and three girls.

Board Games
  • Clue - Three men (Green, Mustard and Plum) and three women (White, Peacock and Scarlet)

Comics
  • Monica's Gang - Two boys (Jimmy Five and Smudge) and two girls (Monica and Maggy)
  • The Endless. Three male (Dream, Destruction, Destiny), three female (Death, Delirium, Despair), and Desire, who has never been satisfied with one of anything.
  • For a long time during the 1970s, the (core) Defenders consisted of Nighthawk, the Hulk, the Valkyrie and Hellcat.
  • In the 1980s, quite a few of the X-Men and spin-off teams written by Chris Claremont were either this or, if the team had an odd number of members, would have a slight female majority. Examples would e. g. be the X-Men team shortly after Cyclops' wedding (Storm, Shadowcat, Rogue and Rachel Summers, Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler, supplemented by either guest-star Cyclops or Professor X). Around the same time the New Mutants consisted of four girls (Dani Moonstar, Wolfsbane, Magik and Magma), three boys (Cannonball, Sunspot and Cypher) and an asexually reproducing alien generally referred to in the masculine (Warlock); the team was jointly led by Dani Moonstar and Cannonball.
  • The Fantastic Four during the time after the first Secret War when the Thing stayed behind on Battleworld: Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman and the She-Hulk.
    • In the Marvel Mangaverse, the Human Torch is female making the team fit this trope.
  • Power Pack. Two boys (Gee and Mass-Master) and two girls (Lightspeed and Energizer).
  • Generation X in their original set-up: three boys (Synch, Skin, Chamber), three girls (Jubilee, M, Husk), and one teacher of either gender (Emma Frost, Sean Cassidy).
  • Mafalda started with two girls (Mafalda and Susanita) and two boys (Felipe and Manolito), and ended with three each (adding Libertad and Miguelito).

FanFic
  • Between Minds, a HalfLife/Portal fanfic, seems to be going toward a main group of two girls (Alyx and Sam) and two guys (Barney and Marcus). The next chapter is stated to have Gordon and Chell, who will likely be another balanced group.
Film
  • Cloverfield - Three boys (Rob, Jason and Hud) and three girls (Beth, Lily and Marlena).
  • Clue - Four men (Wadsworth and blackmailed men Colonel Mustard, Mr. Green and Professor Plum) and four women (Yvette and blackmailed women Miss Scarlet, Mrs. White and Mrs. Peacock).

Literature
  • The Berenstain Bears - For the longest time, The Bear family consisted of Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear. This balance was undone with the introduction of Honey Bear in 2000.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
    • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has two boys (Peter and Edmund) and two girls (Susan and Lucy)
    • Prince Caspian has the same two boys and two girls, although that one also has Caspian as the protagonist of the B plot, so it blurs the line.
    • The Horse and His Boy has one male human and one female human and one male horse and one female horse.
    • The Friends of Narnia in The Last Battle avert this because of the subtraction of Susan.
  • Enid Blyton - Her works often consist of a gender balanced group of children, sometimes supplemented by a pet.
    • The Famous Five - Not counting the dog, the titular ensemble consists of two boys (Julian and Dick) and two girls (Georgina and Anne)
    • ''The Adventure Series - Two boys (Phillip and Jack) and two girls (Dinah and Lucy-Ann)
    • The Secret Series - Two boys (Jack and Mike) and two girls (Peggy and Nora)
    • The Far Away Tree - The second book has two boys and two girls.
    • The Adventurous Four- Two boys (Tom and Andy) and twin sisters (Jill and Mary)
    • Six Cousin Series - Three boys (Jack, Cyril and Roderick) and three girls (Jane, Susan and Melisande)
  • The Roman Mysteries - The four Kid Detectives that make up the main characters include two girls (Flavia and Nubia) and two boys (Jonathan and Lupus).
  • The Wheel of Time, to a certain degree, follows this by having a trio of males and a trio of females as the main characters, though it is rare that all six are in the same place at once or even directly communicating with each other.
  • The Mediochre Q Seth Series, if you only count the main four: Mediochre and Joseph are male, Dhampinella and Charlotte are female. If you include fringe members of the group who join them occasionally on adventures, it still sort-of works in the first book, because you can interpret Danny as being balanced out by Desra, the female mouse. Otherwise, it tends to fall apart quickly once you start including Rowan, Melz or Queen MAB.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Although most of the series stars the central trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione we do get a temporary Gender-Equal Ensemble when they're joined by Ginny, Luna and Neville for the climax of Order of the Phoenix.
    • Also the founders of Hogwarts consisted of two wizards (Gryffindor and Slytherin) and two witches (Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff) whilst the modern-day heads of houses are Professors McGonagall and Sprout (female) and Snape and Flitwick (male).
  • The first few of Jim Butcher's Codex Alera books have a gender-equal number of point of view characters. They start with Amara and Isana (female) and Tavi and Fidelias (male). The balance is preserved in the third book when Fidelias disappears and is replaced by Ehren, but is ultimately upset in the fourth book when Fidelias returns.
  • Also from Jim Butcher, the The Dresden Files book Changes has the initial group that goes off Storming the Castle at the climax: four men (Harry, Thomas, Sanya, Martin), four women (Murphy, Molly, Susan, Lea), and a dog (Mouse).

Live-Action TV
  • Up until the story The Nightmare Man at the beginning of series 4, The Sarah Jane Adventures' team consisted of two boys (Luke and Clyde), and two girls (Maria and Sarah Jane, later Rani and Sarah Jane).
  • When there are four people in the TARDIS on Doctor Who (something that's usually avoided because of how hard it is for the writers to find something for all those characters to do) the numbers tend to fall out like this.
    • Also, it's very common for the male Doctor to have a female Only Friend travelling with him.
  • Friends has three boys (Ross, Chandler and Joey) and three girls (Monica, Rachel and Phoebe).
  • Happy Endings: Three boys (Dave, Max, Brad), three girls (Jane, Alex, Penny).
  • The Beverly Hillbillies - The titular family has two males (Jed and Jethro) and two females (Granny and Elly). Additional regular characters include two males (Milburn and Sonny Drysdale) and two females (Margaret Drysdale and Jane Hathaway).
  • The Brady Bunch - Not counting the housekeeper, the titular family consists of one father with three boys and one mother with three daughters.
  • The Addams Family - The immediate family consists of one father (Gomez), one son (Pugsley), one mother (Morticia) and one daughter (Wednesday). Extended family includes Uncle Fester and Grandmama.
    • Though it gets unbalanced if you count Lurch in.
  • iCarly: Sam and Carly are the women, Spencer and Freddie are the men, thrown off-balance when Gibby joins the main cast.
  • Austin & Ally: Dez and Austin match with Trish and Ally.
  • The Nanny - The Sheffield household has three males (Maxwell and Brighton Sheffield, Niles the butler) and three females (Fran Fine, Maggie and Gracie Sheffield).
  • Coupling - Three boys (Steve, Patrick and Jeff) and three girls (Sally, Susan and Jane). This was enough to get it described constantly as the Transatlantic Equivalent of Friends, though that's a gross oversimplification.
  • A number of Edutainment shows enforce this.
  • The Fresh Beat Band's Marina, Kiki, Twist, and Shout.
  • Though the group's composition is constantly in flux (often as a plot point), the titular Glee club of Glee spends most of it's time in an even 6/6 split between the boys and girls for season 1, and hovers around that number for most of season 2 as well.
  • The pub gang is My Mad Fat Diary has 3 girls and 3 boys.
  • The four main characters in Merlin are two boys (Arthur and Merlin) and two girls (Guinevere and Morgana). May not count for some considering the boys dominate most of the screentime, to the point where the girls are sometimes completely absent for certain episodes.
  • The third generation of Skins consists of four girls (Franky, Mini, Liv and Grace) and four guys (Rich, Nick, Alo and Matty) during season 5. It doesn't stick for season 6, though, in which Alex joins the main cast, but since Matty is absent for the whole season except the premiere and the finale it may count as well.
    • The first generation had more guys on the first season, but the inclusion of "Sketch" in the second evened the things into this trope: 5 guys (Tony, Sid, Chris, Anwar and Maxxie) and 5 girls (Michelle, Cassie, Effy, Jal and Sketch). The second generation, however, was predominantly-female, with 4 guys (Freddie, Thomas, Cook and JJ) and 5 girls (Pandora, Effy, Katie, Emily and Naomi).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had this during season 2 and the beginning of season 5 (up until Riley left, at which point the show returned to being predominately female). Season 4 can also count; while only Buffy and Willow were listed in the main credits, the other four starring roles being male, Anya and Tara appeared in so many episodes and were so closely tied to the core cast of Scoobies that counting them balances things out.
  • Suits has a gender equal ensemble. The 6 main characters are all equal gender wise, Harvey Specter, Mike Ross and Louis Litt for the boys and Rachel Zane, Donna Paulsen and Jessica Pearson for the girls.
  • 'During season 3 of White Collar, the main cast consisted of three men (Neal, Peter and Mozzie) and three women (Elizabeth, Diana and Sara). However, the fourth season breaks this by having Clinton Jones join the main cast and have Sara Demoted to Extra.
  • Throughout it's first eight seasons How I Met Your Mother has had three boys (Ted, Marshall, and Barney), and only two girls (Robin and Lily). However, as of the ninth and final season it becomes gender equal when Cristin Milioti joins the main cast as the finally revealed mother, her actual name still remains a mystery.
  • Sonny With A Chance has three girls (Sonny, Tawni, and Zora) and three boys (Rico, Grady, and Chad).
  • "A.N.T. Farm" has three girls (Chyna, Olive, and Lexi) and three boys (Fletcher, Cameron, and Angus). Subverted in that Cameron and Angus were never in the main cast at the same time.
  • "Dog With A Blog" gives us Avery, Chloe, and Ellen on the female side, and Tyler, Bennett, and, err.....Stan on the male side.
  • The Team in Agents Of Shield is composed of the male Phil Coulson, Grant Ward, and Leo Fitz, and the female Skye, Melinda May, and Jemma Simmons. It's also distributed so that there is at least one male and one female for both brains (Fitz, Skye, and Simmons) and brawn (Coulson, Ward, and May).
  • The kids on Saved by the Bell. Zack, Slater, and Screech complement Kelly, Jessie, and Lisa. The entire main cast is thrown off balance due to Max & Mr. Belding.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: Alex, Harper, and Teresa for the females; Justin, Max, and Jerry for the males.

Music
  • ABBA, whose name was based around the fact they had two girls beginning with A and two men beginning with B.
  • The B-52s, after Ricky Wilson died.
  • Ace of Base (when both Linn and Jenny, in the bulk of their time, or Clara and Julia, afterward, were present)
  • Ladytron, in what's turned out to be a Long Runner Lineup

Theater
  • On the Town - Three boys (Gabey, Chip and Ozzie) and three girls (Ivy, Hildy and Claire).
  • Godspell is originally scripted to have this (five boys and five girls), but due to the show's flexibility, it can vary wildly.
  • Jason Robert Brown seems to enjoy this trope. Songs For A New World has a cast of two men and two women, spread evenly amongst the Voice Types, while The Last Five Years has a man and woman as its cast. 13 breaks the mold, though it's sort of required to due to its Arc Number.
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a drama involving an old married couple (George and Martha) and a younger one (Nick and Honey).

Video Games
  • Persona 2: Innocent Sin has Tatsuya, Eikichi, and Jun, then Maya, Lisa, and Yukino.
  • Persona 3 has this as of FES. Male MC, Junpei, Akihiko, Shinjiro, Ken, and Koromaru, then FeMC, Yukari, Mitsuru, Fuuka, Aigis, and Metis.
  • Even Persona 4 has this. There's Protag, Yosuke, Kanji, and Teddie, then there's Chie, Yukiko, Rise, and Naoto.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VIII - The main party consists of three guys (Squall, Zell, Irvine) and three girls (Rinoa, Quistis, Selphie). However, of the assorted Guest Star Party Members, four are male (Seifer, Laguna, Kiros, Ward) and only one is female (Matron).
    • Final Fantasy IX counts only if Quina is considered female, putting her alongside Garnet, Freya and Eiko opposite Zidane, Vivi, Steiner and Amarant.
    • Final Fantasy XII - three males (Vaan, Balthier, Basch) and three females (Ashe, Fran, Penelo) make up the main party. All Guest Star Party Members are male this time.
    • Final Fantasy XIII - 3 main females (Vanille, Lightning and Fang) and 3 main males (Sazh, Snow and Hope).
    • Final Fantasy Type-0 - 7 main females (Rem, Deuce, Cater, Cinque, Sice, Seven and Queen) and 7 main males (Machina, Ace, Trey, Eight, Nine, Jack and King).
  • Pilotwings 64 has three male pilots (Lark, Goose, Hawk) and three female pilots (Kiwi, Ibis, Robin).
  • The Dragon Age series is big on this:
    • Dragon Age: Origins has four female Companions (Morrigan, Leliana, Wynne, and Shale) and four male (Alistair who is optionally replaced by Teyrn Loghain, Sten, Zevran, and Oghren). And a (male) dog. However, you don't have to recruit all of them, and depending on whether you view the Warden as a ensemble member, the balance can be tipped to either side.
    • Dragon Age: Origins Awakening has Mhairi/Sigrun/Velanna for the female side and Anders/Oghren/Nathaniel for the males, though Mhairi doesn't survive her Joining in the beginning of the game. Further skewing the balance is the fact that the genderless Spirit of Justice possesses a male corpse. Other standalone DLC campaigns, however, are skewed to the male side heavily, ranging from one to no female companions (though in the one with none, the PC is a girl).
    • Dragon Age II follows the suit with four females (Bethany, Aveline, Merrill, Isabela) and four males (Carver, Varric, Anders, Fenris). However, Bethany and Carver are Mutually Exclusive Party Members and the DLC-only male Companion Sebastian can either restore the gender parity or skew it even further. The same AFGNCAAP disclaimer applies about the Player Character.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition is the first main game to avert this trope in the Player Party, which has twice as many males (Varric, Cole, Solas, the Iron Bull, Dorian, and Blackwall) as females (Vivienne, Cassandra, and Sera). The balance is slightly improved with the addition of the three Advisers, one male (Cullen) and two female (Leliana and Josephine), to the Inquisition's inner circle, but it's still skewed towards the male side.
  • Zig-Zagged in the Mass Effect series:
    • Mass Effect 1 had three female squad members (Ashley, Tali, Liara) and three males (Kaidan, Garrus, and Wrex), though Kaidan and Ashley become Mutually Exclusive Party Members after a certain mission.
    • Mass Effect 2 leans slightly towards the male side, even with DLC, owing to the fact that Legion technically has no gender.
    • If you have the full party in Mass Effect 3, then you can have Garrus/James/Kaidan as your male squadmates and Liara/Tali/EDI as your female squadmates. There is also a male DLC character called Javik who can tip the balance. However, he can also restore it, depending on how you see it, with males as Garrus/James/Javik and females as Liara/Tali/Ashley, with EDI as genderless.
    • And through it all is Player Character Commander Shepard, whose gender is chosen by the player. Again, depending on whether you consider Shepard a party member, his/her presence can both re-balance or unbalance the ratios—or do both during the same game!, since Plotline Death is a thing that happens in this franchise.
  • Both Knights of the Old Republic games, depending on player choices (and ignoring the droids, who all have male personalities):
    • In the first, with a female Player Character, there are four males (Carth, Zaalbar, Canderous, and Jolee) and four females (the Player Character, Mission, Bastila, and Juhani).
    • In the second, if the player character is light sided on Nar Shaddaa (and thus gets Mira instead of Hanharr), the party again has four males (Atton, Bao-Dur, Mandalore, and Disciple or the Exile) and four females (Kreia, Mira, Visas, and Handmaiden or the Exile).
  • The Kazama Family in Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai is made up of five girls, four boys and a robot who is treated like a male. Later, another guy joins the team, making it even more of one of these.
  • Both Baten Kaitos games. The first has 3 males and 3 females, while the 2nd has 1 male, 1 female and 1 Guillo ( a Hermaphrodite Perverse Puppet Golem that uses Voice of the Legion, giving "it" both a male and female voice actor).
  • Chaos Rings and Chaos Rings Ω - The Agent summons four or five couples, each of which are a man and a woman.
  • Wild AR Ms 2 has three male playable characters (Ashley, Brad, and Tim) and three females (Lilka, Kanon, and Marivel).
  • Wild AR Ms XF: Clarissa and Felius; Levin and Labrynthia; Alexia and Ragnar. Oh, and Tony.
  • In Magna Carta 2, Juto/Crocell/Argo are your male party members, whilst Zephie/Rue/Celestine are your females.
  • Tales Series:
  • The Clue Finders series has two girls (Joni and Leslie) and two boys (Santiago and Owen). Plus a talking, flying computer.
  • Super Dangan Ronpa 2 starts out with 16 students - eight male, eight female. There are also two mascots: Monokuma (male) and Monomi (female). The first game, Dangan Ronpa, also starts with eight male and eight female students, and ends with six survivors - three male, three female.
  • The complete Player Party in Breath of Death VII consists of 2 guys (Dem and Erik) and 2 girls (Sara and Lita).

Webcomic
  • Most of Homestuck's sets of characters are gender-equal, with the exceptions of the all-male Midnight Crew and almost all-male Felt:
    • The four initial protagonists are two boys (John and Dave) and two girls (Rose and Jade).
    • The trolls follow the same pattern, with six girls (Terezi, Vriska, Kanaya, Aradia, Feferi, and Nepeta) and six boys (Karkat, Tavros, Gamzee, Equius, Sollux, and Eridan). Even after the cast is thinned a bit in Act 5, the gender balance remains.
    • The human session's exiles consist of two male Dersites (WV and AR) and two female Prospitians (PM and WQ), although the White King - a male Prospitian - briefly joins them, unbalancing the gender ratio for about ten seconds before Jack Noir chops his head off.
    • The kids' guardians also fit if you treat Nanna as John's guardian instead of Dad Egbert.
    • The Sprites for the original kids are also balanced, with 2 male (Jaspersprite and Davesprite) and 2 female (Nannasprite and Jadesprite).
    • In the post-scratch universe, there are also two girls (Jane and Roxy) and two boys(Jake and Dirk), as is to be expected considering that they are teenage versions of the pre-scratch kids' guardians.
    • The pre-scratch trolls are gender-balanced by the same principle.
    • Finally, of the two cherubs, one (Calliope) is female, and the other (Caliborn) is male, even though they happen to share a body.
  • The Players Guide To SISU - Three female PCs, three male PCs. And on top of that, three female players, three male players.
  • The main four characters in Our Little Adventure.
  • The main four characters in Monster Pulse. SHELL operates on The Smurfette Principle, however, with only one major female character in the group.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • 6teen - Three boys (Jonesy, Jude and Wyatt) and three girls (Nikki, Jen and Caitlin).
  • The Magic School Bus, if you don't count Ms. Frizzle, has four boys and four girls.
  • The regular contestants of Total Drama are split amongst eleven boys and eleven girls in the first season. As of season 5, there have been 19 male and 19 female contestants on the show at some point in time.
    • In season three, Team Victory is initially made up of three guys and three girls. In contrast, the other teams had The Smurfette Principle and The One Guy, respectively.
  • The Incredibles - two males (Mr. Incredible and Dash) and two females (Elastigirl and Violet). Technically, Jack-Jack unbalances this but he's not in most of the movie so it counts. If you include non-primary characters you have: Jack-Jack, Frozone, and Syndrome as well as Edna, Mirage, and Kari.
  • Scooby-Doo: Two boys (Fred and Shaggy), two girls (Daphne and Velma) and one dog (Scooby Doo).
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender started off with Katara being the only girl for two boys (Aang and Sokka),but then Toph joined the team. It balances out again when Zuko and Suki join the group.
  • The Legend of Korra also does this now that Asami is part of the team of Korra (originally the one girl of the Freudian Trio), Mako and Bolin. One could also count Tenzin and Lin and Naga and Pabu without upseting the balance.
  • Bubble Guppies, barring the teacher and the dog, has three guys (Gil, Goby, and Nonny) and three girls (Molly, Deema, and Oona)
  • Terra's short tenure in the Teen Titans caused the team to be this: her, Starfire and Raven on the girl's side, and Robin, Beast Boy and Cyborg as the guys.
  • Young Justice ends season one with four guys and four girls, thanks to adding several Affirmative Action Girls since its all-male premiere.
  • X-Men and X-Men: Evolution have this, if we discount Professor X and consider only the field team: the first show had four females (Jean, Jubilee, Rogue and Storm) and four males (Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast and Gambit). Evolution also had four females (Jean, Shadowcat, Rogue and Storm) and four males (Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Spyke and Wolverine).
  • Ewoks - most of the episodes in the first season and all of them in the second season feature two boys (Wicket and Teebo) and two girls (Kneesaa and Latara).

Fearful SymmetryThese Tropes Are EqualGolden Mean Fallacy
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Friendly, Playful DolphinImageSource/Live-Action TVRound the Twist

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