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Affirmative Action Girl

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"I'm just glad there's finally another girl on the team!"note 
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A female character added to a new season, spinoff or sequel to balance out the sexes.

If she's the first female in a previously all-male cast, this is just The Smurfette Principle at work and she's probably The Chick or The Heart. But if she's added when there's already a (single) female in the cast, to counter the Smurfette Principle by adding more gender balance, then she's an Affirmative Action Girl. When this trope was in its formative stages (when Affirmative Action was still working its way into action-oriented fiction), such characters were usually Straw Feminists to boot. For bonus points, she might be a racial minority as well.

Note that despite the Punny Name, she need not be an Action Girl, but usually is at least a Tomboy to distinguish her from a pre-existing Chick.

If used well, she can genuinely enrich the story. But if she's just there and has no characterization or Character Development, expect the fandom to hate her for being shallow, badly written, too feminine, or not feminine enough, or a Creator's Pet.

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Compare Affirmative Action Legacy and Two Girls to a Team. See also More Diverse Sequel, which she can contribute to.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • In 2012, during one of the famous Super Bowl commercials, M&M's maker Mars introduced Ms. Brown, an icy businesswoman voiced by Vanessa Williams, to go with the other M&M "spokescandies". Brown was the last regular color to be characterized, and since Green was the only other female out of the set, it seems Mars wanted to kill two birds with one stone.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Digimon Adventure, Sora and Mimi were the only two girls on a seven-person team, until the introduction of Hikari, cute little sister of the male lead. Digimon Adventure tri. added yet another one, Meiko. Digimon Tamers had a slew of Sixth Rangers, going from a cast of three with one girl to a cast of ten with near-equality.
  • Allenby Beardsley from Mobile Fighter G Gundam. A fan favorite Sixth Ranger Genki Girl and Bokukko who promptly managed to fall into a Love Triangle involving the only other major female character on the show, the local Hot Scientist and Team Mom. Also, a relief to the male fans that were getting uncomfortable with the all-male pilots wearing Latex Space Suits.
    • Rain herself becomes a secondary example later, when Allenby is Brainwashed and Crazy and she takes up the task of Defusing The Tykebomb. She already had hints of it the beginning, though, being able to withstand the "painful" suiting up process and handling the Shining Gundam in Shinjuku despite lack of specific training.
  • Hilde Schbeiker from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Though she's a rather decent pilot and had military background prior to befriending Duo, she was mostly there to balance the ratio for a while and become the local Wrench Wench.
  • In the original Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Miho was a minor character with sporadic appearances. She was made part of the main cast in the first Yu-Gi-Oh TV series to prevent Anzu from being the only girl. She was completely absent in the second series due to the introduction of other female characters such as Mai Valentine, Rebecca Hawkins, and Ishizu Ishtar.
  • Textbook example in BB Senshi Sangokuden: the second named female character Sonshoukou Gerbera is the resident tomboy, and the first, Chousen Qubeley, is The Chick complete with healthy relationship to Ryofu Tallgeese, and gets Stuffed into the Fridge for it.
  • Prime Minister Kayabuki in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Probably counts as The Chick to the Major's Action Girl, although to be fair, she does get to be quite awesome in her own non-violent, office-based way.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Yellow is added to the roster of Kanto Dex Holders during the second arc of the series, except that nobody knew she was a girl at first.
  • Dragon Ball: While the first series always had a few female characters scattered throughout the supporting cast, the anime-only Dragon Ball GT was the only time a girl regularly joined in on the world-saving: Pan, Goku's granddaughter.
  • Hailey Anne from Yo Kai Watch was added to balance out the cast and so that there could be a girl that could use the titular watch in the anime, as Katie was made a supporting character. She replaces Katie as the female protagonist in the third game. This didn't really work as intended, however, since it just resulted in Katie getting even less focus in favor of Hailey.
  • When the classic story of Space Battleship Yamato was redone as Space Battleship Yamato 2199, one of the first things that the producers did was expand the female cast by a significant degree (to the point where some previously male characters were turned into women too). This is made obvious by the crew of the Yamato itself — whereas in the classic series Yuki was the only woman on board, 2199 gives her a whole lot of company, with a third of the ship's crew made up of women.
  • Lupin III:
    • The very first episode of the 2015 Lupin III series introduces a brand new character; an Italian thief named Rebecca, who serves as an additional foil for Lupin. For pretty much the first time in the franchise's history, Fujiko is no longer the sole woman among the main characters.
    • Lupin III Part 5 does the same thing, adding a young Playful Hacker named Ami to the core cast for much of the season.

    Comic Books 
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    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Black Widow was the only female Avenger for the first film, but in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch is added to the line-up. If one counts the supporting cast, Maria Hill was the only significant woman helping the Avengers out in the first movie.
  • The live-action Death Note movies have Sanami, who was created to add a woman to the Task Force. Similarly, the role of the Third Kira was given to an adapted version of (attractive twenty-something female) Kiyomi Takada, originally merely a Kira-supporter and a go-between for Light and Teru Mikami (the fourth Kira), when character-wise, an adapted version of (unattractive older male) Kyosuke Higuchi would have worked just as well, although in Takada's defense, she had a role in the live-action story.
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader adds a second girl to the crew - Gael, a girl who stows away after her mother is kidnapped. This would have created a Plot Hole for when the Dufflepuds kidnap Lucy as in the book, they do so because only a girl can read the spell to free them. However the film remedies it by having one of the Dufflepuds note that Gael is also a girl but that Lucy has a book next to her, indicating she knows how to read.
  • Arwen's role in The Lord of the Rings is expanded considerably compared to the original trilogy. Glorfindel's ride to bring Frodo to Rivendell is given to Arwen and she was filmed fighting at Helm's Deep so that the main romantic interest wasn't left out of the story for too long, but according to the DVD extras her being Affirmative Action Girl didn't feel right so they delved into the periphery material to show her feminine strength (supporting, encouraging, negotiating and persuading to aid the fellowship from afar) instead of the masculine strength of bashing stuff with a sword. And also according to the commentaries, to avoid introducing a new named character who will have two total minutes of screen time. Word of God also said that Tauriel from The Hobbit film trilogy is what Arwen could have been, since she was added to include some feminine energy.
  • Tia Dalma, a minor character in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, joins the crew in At World's End so that Elizabeth isn't the only woman on the ship (since Anamaria vanished in Dead Man's Chest).
  • In the adaption of S.W.A.T., a new character was added, Chris Sanchez, a woman who has repeatedly applied to join SWAT but was rejected for being a girl, with her number of police brutality accusations (Actually just perps who were embarrassed at being taken down by a girl) given as a reason for not allowing her to join. And then came Samuel L. Jackson...
  • A variation in Miss Congeniality. While there is a large female cast in the first movie, the majority of them are the pageant contestants - and Gracie is the only female FBI agent. The sequel teams her up with another female agent Sam, though ironically features less female supporting characters (as the plot is about rescuing one pageant contestant).
  • A few people complained about Batman Begins and The Dark Knight not featuring any interesting female characters. The only prominent female in the story was Rachel Dawes, the love interest who is killed in the second film. The Dark Knight Rises introduces both Selina Kyle and Miranda Tate, who both have prominent roles in the story.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Mystique was the only prominent female mutant in the previous two First Class movies, and Agent Moira MacTaggert was absent in Days of Future Past. Moira is re-inserted here, and significant roles are given to Jean Grey and Storm.
  • The Magnificent Seven (1960) had only one female with a speaking part - Petra the Token Romance for Chico. The 2016 remake does not give one of the seven a Gender Flip, but gives the role of Seven Samurais Rikichi to Emma Cullen, a prominent character who assembles the seven, and the movie features a couple of supporting female characters.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix adds Tonks to the team of good badass adults we're used to as well as Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood to the main group. Although Ginny was in the story before this book, she had only been either a background character or a Damsel in Distress (in the second one). Here she becomes a proper Action Girl and joins Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville in the fight at the Ministry. Luna as well then makes the main group have three girls and three boys. On the evil side we originally had Bellatrix as the Dark Chick. Alecto Carrow then appears as another female Death Eater, but this trope fits Bellatrix's sister Narcissa better; she technically appeared earlier and she's only the wife of a villain, but her role gets greatly expanded in the final two books, culminating in a Heel–Face Turn that allows Harry to kill Voldemort.
  • Phenomena: Even though Millian first appears in the 3rd book she does have a unique personality and is a good addition to the series and has many fans.
  • The second book of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Clash of Kings, introduces many female warriors into the already large cast of characters, including Asha Greyjoy, Brienne of Tarth, Ygritte, Meera Reed, and fire priestess Melisandre. Martin explores how each fits into the male-dominated world of Westeros. The fourth book, A Feast for Crows, also introduces the Sand Snakes, a group of sisters who were brought up to be badasses by their father.
  • Used in-universe in Artemis Fowl. Holly Short is the only female officer on the LEPRecon force (there is another one, but she's a complete bimbo and serves as a PR move due to distant ancestry with a fairy king), and feels greatly put upon by her boss for being a girl. He quickly reveals that this is indeed the case... but because he knows she can take it, being better than all the other male officers, and if she succeeds the LEP will finally allow more women to join.
  • The Heroes of Olympus:
    • While a good majority of the characters in the original series were Caucasian, of the five new heroes, one is Native American, one is Latino, one is African American, one is Chinese-Canadian — and only one is white.
    • And now Reyna is confirmed to be Puerto Rican, meaning the Romans are led by a woman of color. Which given the ethnicities of assorted Emperors is not as big a deal as it seems to be - except for the 'woman' part.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde had virtually no female characters in it. The Perspective Flip novel and film Mary Reilly tells the story from the POV of one of his maids. It adds in a significant female character in Mrs. Farraday, as well as featuring another maid and the cook as supporting characters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The fourth season of Law & Order had Dann Florek and Richard Brooks replaced by S. Epatha Merkerson and Jill Hennessy due to NBC's request that Dick Wolf add female cast members to the show. Considering that Merkerson was still on the show 15 years later and that Hennessy is widely considered to be the best of McCoy's assistants (sometimes tossed up against Angie Harmon), this is a rare case where Executive Meddling worked out for the best.
  • There's also Trini Kwan, the Yellow Ranger / Granola Girl from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. In the original Japanese version, Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, there was only one girl on the team (Mei/Ptera Ranger). The Yellow Ranger was a guy (Boy/Tiger Ranger).
  • The Kamen Rider franchise is notoriously bad when it comes to including female Riders. Women are usually on the supporting cast, but they don't often get involved with the actual combat. As a result, the franchise has repeatedly used this trope as it's taken gradual steps towards getting women on the battlefield alongside the men:
    • The trend began back in 1975's Kamen Rider Stronger, where the title character had a female sidekick. She was a Faux Action Girl (though the actress' asthma might be a factor in that) who died partway through the series and still isn't considered an official Kamen Rider to this day. She was the only major female combatant in the original Showa era run of the show in the 70s and 80s.
    • When the franchise returned in the Heisei era after a hiatus, it would occasionally include a token female Rider:
      • Kamen Rider Ryuki introduced the first female Rider, Kamen Rider Femme, though she only appeared in a tie-in movie and died at the end.
      • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, the second American adaptation of a Rider series, took Femme's counterpart Kamen Rider Siren and promoted her from a one-shot movie-exclusive character into a major recurring hero on par with the original show's Lancer.
      • Subverted in Kamen Rider 555. The show built up Kamen Rider Delta with multiple Offscreen Moments of Awesome before it revealed that Samus Is a Girl... and then killed her off just before we could see her fight for real. The Delta equipment and identity would be used by men for the rest of the series.
      • Kamen Rider Blade included a woman in its group of movie-exclusive Riders as Kamen Rider Larc. Like Femme, she doesn't survive the movie.
      • Not exactly striking a gender balance, Kamen Rider Shuki from Kamen Rider Hibiki was a lot more competent and stayed on the show longer than Larc and Femme. And by longer, we mean two episodes as opposed to just a tie-in movie.
      • Kamen Rider Kiva had Yuri and Megumi Aso, mother-daughter Vampire Hunters (Yuri in 1986, Megumi in the then-present day of 2008). They're not Riders themselves, and usually get in over their heads so a Rider has to save them, but the fact that they regularly stand their ground against the monsters is more proactive than most female supporting characters. They also each get the chance to borrow the Kamen Rider IXA powers from its regular male users once or twice.
      • Kamen Rider Decade gave its female lead Natsumi powers as Kamen Rider Kivala, but only in the finale movie so she doesn't get to do much with them. On the plus side, she's the first female Rider to not die.
      • Kamen Rider Fourze once again has a female Rider that only appears in tie-in movies (though two or three instead of just one), Kamen Rider Nadeshiko.
      • Kamen Rider Wizard had Mayu Inamori, the Good Twin to the villainous Medusa, eventually become the first (and most prominent) Kamen Rider Mage and the first recurring female Rider, albeit one that used a mass-produced suit and arrived too late in the series to rack up many appearances.
      • Mayu was soon overshadowed by Kamen Rider Gaim's Yoko Minato, who was a badass spy even before she became Kamen Rider Marika (it helped that she was played by stuntwoman Minami Tsukui, who was the first Rider since the original to use No Stunt Double). She ended up the only woman in the Heisei era to have Rider powers for the majority of a show's run.
      • Kamen Rider Drive has another non-Rider example in Kiriko Shijima, a policewoman and Drive's partner. In-story, she was a candidate for being Drive herself but lacked some unspecified factor, which rubbed some fans the wrong way given that she was otherwise generally more capable than Drive was.
      • Kamen Rider Ghost had a group of people using knockoffs of Kamen Rider Necrom's powers in the summer tie-in movie and the episodes surrounding it (a Quirky Miniboss Squad and one other); two of which were women. Neither one got much screentime.
      • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid ended up giving both of its most prominent female characters Rider powers; on the one hand they're both Lethal Joke Characters (Poppy has incredibly powerful Super Cute Superpowers while Nico uses a Mook suit but is skilled enough to kick butt with it), but on the other they don't in get a whole lot of fights.
      • Finally, Kamen Rider Zi-O mirrors Decade in several ways, including giving its female lead Tsukuyomi Rider powers in the series finale. But Zi-O, at least, has a few post-show projects where she can use them.
    • The Reiwa era looks to be taking another major step forward, as Kamen Rider Zero-One is the first series in the entire franchise to start with a female Rider in the cast: Yua Yaiba/Kamen Rider Valkyrie; and she was the first woman to take part in the franchise's Swiss Army Hero gimmick. If you're willing to stretch the trope definition, Naki also becomes a Rider late in the series (the character is androgynous and, as an android, has No Biological Sex; while the actress identifies as non-binary). In fact, both never even come close to being Stuffed in the Fridge, surviving all the way to the series' end WITH their Rider gear intact, and even on the same side (of good), which is nothing short of absolutely amazing for this franchise.
  • Samantha Carter was living large as the sole estrogen representative of Stargate SG-1. And then along comes Vala Mal Doran, who ironically was more of a Chick than Carter ever was. Sam never really filled the role of The Chick, despite being initially the only girl. Instead, Daniel Jackson functioned as The Heart, while Sam was the resident Action Girl and Omnidisciplinary Scientist.
  • In the third season of Alias, Sidney's sister Nadia was introduced. She didn't stick around for long though...
  • Flashpoint became a victim of this. With the death of its sole black team member, the team replaces him with a black woman this time. It averts The Smurfette Principle with the presence of Jules Callaghan, though prior to the new girl, she represented that trope.
  • Season two of Human Target added two new female characters to balance out the original three male main characters.
  • Caitlin joins the guys in the second season of Airwolf.
  • The end of the second season of Robin Hood saw the departure of Marian and Djaq. The writers unsuccessfully tried to compensate in the third series by introducing Isabella and Kate to take their place as Robin's Love Interest and the Token Girl respectively.
  • Inverted on The Sarah Jane Adventures. In the original pilot, the gender ratio was three females (Sarah Jane, Kelsey, and Maria) to one male (Luke). When the series began, Kelsey had been replaced with Clyde to balance out the gender ratio (and because Kelsey's actress was rather difficult.) Kelsey went on to join Faction Paradox and became the president of Pluto, so things worked out for her in the end.
  • The Hawaii Five-0 reboot/remake changed Kono into a chick, because, well, they needed a chick. Grace Park seems to be making a career out of this (c.f. Boomer in Battlestar Galactica).
  • Speaking of Battlestar Galactica, the show only had Athena and Cassiopeia in the main roster. Sheba was not added until halfway through the show.
  • While the reimagined Battlestar Galactica had two women among the main pilots from Day One (Kara as The Ace and Sharon as The Chick), of the three "nuggets" added partway through Season 1 Kat was the one who got the most screen time and character development.
  • Gender Flip in Warehouse 13: the original cast was Mrs. Fredrickson, Mika, Leena, Artie, Pete, with Claudia joining after a few episodes in making it 4 girls and 2 guys. Season 2 introduced female H.G. Wells then dropped that character at the end of the season and has introduced Agent Jinks in Season 3 making 4 girls and 3 guys. 5 girls and 3 guys if you count H.G. Wells who is Commuting on a Bus
  • The Big Bang Theory starts out with 4 different geeks and the one chick across the hall. After almost 3 years of seeing The Smurfette Principle in action (and 2 failed relationship attempts between The Chick and the Dogged Nice Guy), two new main female characters are brought in that help balance the two more socially extreme geeks of the group and the gender ratio in general.
  • Gender Flip in Charmed (1998) as the ratio was typically the three sisters and one male character. Andy filled this role in season 1 but then season 2 replaced Andy with Dan and gave Daryl and Leo more prominent roles. Cole got added in season 3, making the main cast an even split of 3 men and 3 women.
  • Another Gender Flip in H₂O: Just Add Water with a lead cast of three girls and one guy. Season 2 adds Zane to the opening credits and then season 3 adds Will (though dropping Louis as well).
  • Inverted on MythBusters; when the Build Team began to be shown on camera, there were two women: Kari Byron and Scottie Chapman. Scottie left after a year or two, and was replaced by Grant Imahara, leaving Kari as the lone female MythBuster. A couple of female MythTerns have been on the show (one of which, Jess Nelson, could be considered a straight example as she joined with the Five-Man Band in the current configuration), but they typically doesn't last much longer than a year.
  • Cold Case: For the first two seasons, main character Lilly Rush was the only female homicide detective in the PPD. The third season introduced Josie Sutton, and since the suits didn't like her, she was Put on a Bus and replaced with Kat Miller.
  • Angel had Cordelia as the only woman in the main cast. Season 2 gave Darla and Lilah big roles, but they were still only recurring, not to mention villains. Fred (a girl) was added to the main titles for Season 3, making it Two Girls to a Team. By Season 5, Fred was the only female in the main cast, but Harmony was added as Angel's secretary and promoted to the opening titles for the last few episodes.
  • As Lucy Brown left Primeval during Season 3, that would have left Abby as the only female working at the ARC - if Laila Rouass hadn't joined as Sarah Page at the start of the season. When she leaves at the end of the season, Ruth Kearney's Jess and Ruth Bradley's Emily are added in Season 4.
  • Supergirl's adopted sibling was a boy in the comics. For Supergirl (2015) the character becomes Kara's stepsister Alex. This adds a third female protagonist in addition to Kara and her boss Cat Grant. Additionally the show received complaints about having no women of color in the first season, so the second (where Cat is Put on a Bus) adds Maggie Sawyer and Miss Martian.
  • Saved by the Bell was envisioned as having only Two Girls to a Team - with Lisa and Kelly as only two girls versus a main cast of four males (five if you count Max, who was a recurring cast member at first). Elizabeth Berkley's audition (for Kelly) impressed producers and they created a third female - Jessie Spano - to accommodate her.

    Multi-Media 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • It's common for a promotion to have just one championship for women to fight for, due to having less female wrestlers. However if their roster goes up, they will sometimes introduce a secondary title for the women:
    • Due to WWE's female roster expanding in 2008, they introduced a second female title - giving the Raw brand the Women's Championship and Smackdown the Divas' Championship. The Women's Championship was retired in 2010, but in 2016 when the brand split was brought back a second female championship was introduced again.
    • TNA originally had the Knockouts Championship but later expanded things to add a set of tag team titles for the women too.
  • The Oddities' only female member was Luna Vachon for a while. Sable later joined the group, or at least was considered an honorary member.
  • Ivory was the female member of the Right to Censor but then a storyline took place where The Kat was forced to become a member...but then she was released from WWE in real life.
  • D-Generation X historically had one female member and in its first incarnations it was Chyna. In 2000 Chyna left the stable and it was reformed with Stephanie McMahon, as she had joined forces with Triple H. A second female member came in the form of Tori, who became X-Pac's girlfriend.

    Theater 

    Video Games 
  • Despite the Loads and Loads of Characters in Xenogears, only a handful of the ones that are significant to the plot are female. The first fifty-odd hours will lead one to think that Elly is destined to be the game's playable Smurfette compared to the five guys Fei, Citan, Bart, Rico, and Billy, only being mitigated somewhat with Miang as the Dark Mistress to Ramsus's presumptive Big Bad, Margie as a non-playable Plucky Girl, and the all-female Quirky Miniboss Squad. Then, after completing the Shevat story arc near the end of the first disc, three female playable characters in a row are added: Kid With The Remote Control Maria, Small, Annoying Creature Chu-Chu, and Artificial Human Emeralda.
    • Also, there turns out to be more to Miang than what the player is told at first. She is not only manipulating Ramsus from behind the scenes, but has been doing the same to the whole world for 10,000 years—she is one of the two Big Bads in the story and for all intents and purposes, the physical avatar of their world's god.
  • The characters of Kim Wu and Maya were created for Killer Instinct 2 specifically because Orchid was the only woman in the first game.
  • The female Archer from Gauntlet Legends replaced the male Elf.
  • Super Smash Bros.: Super Smash Bros. 64 had only two playable female characters, Samus and Jigglypuff (whose gender is ambiguous anyway). Melee on GameCube added Peach, the Ice Climbers (one of whom is female) and Zelda (who can transform into Sheik), essentially adding four female characters. Brawl added Zero Suit Samus (a transformation for Samus similar to Zelda and Sheik), as well as Ivysaur (whose bud type actually confirms it as female, oddly enough), putting the total female playable character count (should you count each Pokemon of Pokemon Trainer and Zelda/Sheik and Samus/Zero Suit as their own fighters) to 8 out of 39. Then came Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, which split Zelda and Sheik as well as Samus and Zero Suit Samus into separate characters, finally giving those characters their own roster space, while simultaneously removing the Ice Climbers and Ivysaur. This would balance things out if they didn't add in the Wii Fit Trainer (who has a male ant-skin, but the female is default), Rosalina, Palutena, Lucina, and Bayonetta, as well as multiple characters with female-alt skins such as Wendy (Bowser Jr.), Mii Fighter (two times over, technically, as only the Mii Gunner is female by default), Robin, the Villager, and Corrin, adding ten new female characters in one installment. It's for this reason that the fourth installment has received praise for being much more gender-accepting. Meanwhile, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate brought back the Ice Climbers and Ivysaur and giving a female skin to the Pokemon Trainer, while at the same time adding in Daisy, the Inklings (who come as male too) and Isabelle, while DLC character Byleth comes with a female-alt skin, as well as Alex as a skin for Steve.
  • Typically, the only female recurring character in the Super Mario Bros. series is Peach. In the spin offs, they literally throw in as many female characters as they can find. While many of the additional characters in the Mario Spin Offs (Daisy, Baby Peach, and possibly Rosalina) could be accused of being Affirmative Action Girls, only Toadette and Baby Daisy were created specifically for this purpose.
  • Metal Slug:
    • The original Metal Slug had two characters, the guys Marco and Tarma. Metal Slug 2 revealed their female counterparts, Fio and Eri. Fio and Eri have stuck around ever since... except for when Tarma and Eri were put on a different mission in Metal Slug 4 and replaced with Trevor and Nadia.
    • 7/XX adds Leona, but you have to buy her first.
    • Metal Slug Attack ratchets things all the way in the other direction after exaggerating this trope during its launch. The game has added dozens of new characters for both the good guys and all the bad guy factions, pretty much all of them female. It wasn't until the game had been out for a year or so that they started to add a few males to the expanded cast.
  • The original version of Final Fantasy III had a party of four generic boys. The remake changes the blue Onion Knight to a girl.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 is an interesting case. The original game had three girls on the team but the protagonist was male. The sequel has two of the original girls now as the protagonist, with a third new one added - marking the first time in the series the player has an all-female party. What's more is that those three are the only party members and there are no Guest Star Party Members either.
  • Final Fantasy XII based the Espers on the signs of the Zodiac - of which only Virgo is represented by a female symbol (the rest are either male, animal or inanimate objects). Indeed the Esper representing Virgo - Ultima - is female. Developers made another of the Espers female too - Shemhazai who was based off Sagittarius (a male centaur).
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: Terra is the sole female character you can play in the story mode, since Cosmos is an NPC, Shantotto is a bonus character, and No Campaign for the Wicked (ergo excluding the female villains Cloud of Darkness and Ultimecia). The sequel, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, adds Tifa, Yuna, and Lightning to the playable-in-story-mode cast, slightly evening out the sausage fest.
  • In Warcraft III, female units would usually be relegated to supporting magical roles (sorceresses for Humans/High Elves and Banshees for Undead), up until Night Elves had females filling all the primary attack unit roles. The expansion adds the Night Elf Warden, the only female melee hero in the game.
    • Also, the expansion pack for Warcraft II added Alleria Windrunner, an elven ranger hero and the only female unit, to the story.
  • In the original Nintendo 64 version of Diddy Kong Racing, the only female character was Pipsy the mouse. In order to even the balance a bit (and fill the empty spots left by characters Nintendo no longer had permission to use, along with making the game less of an In Name Only addition to the Donkey Kong Country franchise), Diddy's girlfriend Dixie Kong and her younger sister Tiny Kong were added to the Nintendo DS version.
  • Aqua in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is the franchise's first properly playable female character (not just a bonus addition like Larxene or Xion in multiplayer). And she is awesome.
  • Viola of Stationery Voyagers. It was strongly implied that Neone would join shortly after the first launch, so she doesn't count. But Viola appears from seemingly out of nowhere in the second season, and quickly convinces the team to let her join, in spite her eccentricities being confusing to them.
  • League of Legends with its increasingly enormous playable roster has an already pretty-even gender ratio, though fan request and Riot's own interest for more diversity has led to female champions taking affirmative positions in originally uncommon roles. Examples include Fiora (designed out of demand for a female melee duelist), Leona (a female tank), and Illaoi (a female "juggernaut"). There have interestingly also been a few gender-inversions of this trope, such as Graves (made out of demand for a manly ranged marksman) and Braum (a manly support).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Rouge the Bat and Blaze the Cat. The former was the first additional major female character after Amy Rose (whom only started becoming an Action Girl herself recently at that point) and was an adversary for Knuckles. The latter debuted a few years later, but is noticeable for being the only female character to match Sonic's skill in combat and is also the only female to have a Super Mode of her own.
  • The cast of THQ's cancelled Avengers video game pretty much exclusively consisted of characters featured in the MCU (Iron Man, Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and War Machine) with the lone exception of Ms. Marvel, who would have appeared as an unlockable character.
  • Due to the lack of female combatants in the franchise, the makers of Dragon Ball Fighter Z actually created a brand new character named Android 21.
  • The third ToeJam & Earl game added Latisha as the first female playable character, with Back in the Groove adding Lewanda and Flo to the playable cast as well.

    Web Animation 
  • Failed attempt: The creators of Homestar Runner tried on a few occasions to develop other female characters for the site to supplement Marzipan; none ever saw the light of day, except in a bonus short on the DVD appropriately titled "Why Come Only One Girl?" They eventually gave up, deciding that the sub-feature Teen Girl Squad would be their new female outlet.
  • In-continuity, Bethany of The Escapist's Game Dogs is literally this-in spite of a behavioral record as long as any arm you'd care to present, stuffed full of reprimands for violence that would get anyone else fired twenty-seven times over, she keeps her job explicitly because of affirmative action rules mandating a certain number of female and minority employees. Outside of continuity, they probably thought they were doing this tongue-in-cheekly by making her actually the only girl. Color me unimpressed.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • While Tex didn't balance out the sexes, throughout the whole show she has consistently been, by far, the best soldier in the series, at one point delivering a merciless smackdown against the Reds and Tucker at the same time without taking a hit. Red Vs Blue usually avoids the negative aspects of the trope: particularly with Season 9, more and more female characters have been added, and they, as well as Tex, have been a major impact on the plot and have become well-developed characters. However, Sister's inclusion in Season 5 smacks of the downsides: she's promiscuous, stupid, and female, and that's really all there is to her character. This may be why she hasn't been seen since the beginning of Season 6.
    • Sister reappeared as a major character in season 16, and she underwent some major offscreen Character Development, having matured and really become quite a bit smarter (though that really doesn’t mean much in this show). Her and Tucker pair up in the time travel shenanigans involved in this season, with Tucker once more making constant passes at her. Eventually it’s revealed that they had a falling out and when Tucker keeps pushing it, she hits him with a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how she’s grown up but he’s still the same old horn dog he was back in the Blood Gulch Chronicles, that leaves Tucker absolutely speechless.

    Webcomics 
  • Zoe's inclusion into Sluggy Freelance (she's the first female character with any dialogue) after Riff comments, "This strip needs women." It's a lesser example because she appeared when the strip was only a month old, and Pete Abrams claims he'd had her character planned from the beginning. The revelation that Aylee is female made her qualify.
  • The Order of the Stick begins with just one female, Haley (unless you count gender-indeterminate Vaarsuvius). In strip #43, they meet "The Linear Guild", their first set of antagonists, which includes two women, Sabine and Hilgya. Hilgya soon leaves, and Celia the air elemental law student is introduced. She goes on to become a much more important character, as does Sabine, who sticks around with her boyfriend Nale after the rest of the Linear Guild breaks up. Another female character is added in strip #200, the stuck-up paladin Miko. Xykon the lich's army starts out apparently all male, but gets an infusion of estrogen in the form of Tsukiko right before Miko lets her paranoia get the best of her and dies. Later we meet the Ascended Extra Kazumi Kato, and her boyfriend and eventually husband Daigo. The female paladin Lien also plays a supporting role. Intrigue among the exiled paladins and their people also introduces Lord Kubota as a villain, his female ninja protege Therkla, and the male imp Qarr. And it goes on from there. OOTS goes from Smurfette Principle beginnings to a nearly equally-balanced cast.

    Western Animation 
  • The Geek in The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police. Put in as a compromise - the executives wanted a female main character and their original idea was to make Max female (which would never work as Sam and Max are Heterosexual Life-Partners with the occasional moment of Ho Yay). Luckily she hardly had any effect on the show. The silly thing is there are plenty of female characters in Sam and Max, but the network wanted one as a main character.
  • The second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Until then, Katara was the only female in the main cast. Then Azula, Mai, Ty Lee and Toph all arrive in the first six episodes, and suddenly the gender ratio for main and recurring characters is four male, five female. Though she appeared as a minor character in season one, Suki may also count as seasons two and three increase her prominence. Incidentally, Toph and Azula were originally conceived as guys. The genders were swapped somewhere down the line, presumably to let this trope happen, and because swapping Toph's gender was hilarious.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! initially boasted only one female protagonist, The Wasp. About halfway through season one, viewers met her friend Carol Danvers, in an episode that ended with Carol gaining Kree superpowers. By season two, Carol assumes the super heroine identity of Ms. Marvel, whom Iron Man recruits into the Avengers.
  • The Batman:
    • Ellen Yin was the sole major female character for the first couple of seasons. Unsurprisingly, she was written out of the show around the time Batgirl was introduced as a main character.
    • The show's version of the Terrible Trio had Vulture depicted as a woman so that the group wouldn't be entirely male.
  • According to Bruce Timm, Batgirl was made into a main character in The New Batman Adventures because the network thought adding a girl to the main cast would help court female viewers.
  • Botanica from Beast Machines.
  • Almost all the main cast of DuckTales (1987) was taken from the "Uncle Scrooge" comics. Two new female characters were added though, Webby and Mrs. Beakley.
  • Angela from Gargoyles, added in Season 2. All the gargoyles were male except for Demona, who was a villain. Elisa was the existing female character, but she's not a gargoyle and therefore not quite as action-y, despite being a police officer and often participating in combat. In the original series pitch, there were apparently two female gargoyles in the main cast—Coco, who was forced by Executive Meddling to evolve into Broadway because they didn't like the idea of an overweight female as a main character, and Dakota, the original leader of the clan, who was dropped for being very boring. It's worth noting that neither character was stuck in limbo permanently: Coco was brought back in the comic continuation as a member of the London Clan, while Dakota was retooled into Demona.
  • Captain Scarlet's Lieutenant Green was turned into a woman for the CGI remake Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet. Aside from a few shows of bravery and one episode in which the Mysterons cloned her father, her character was barely touched on.
  • Season 2 of The Incredible Hulk (1996) bumped up She-Hulk to co-lead status and renamed the series The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk. Word of God was that this was specifically done to get more young girls to watch the show.
  • By the time House of Mouse came around, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck were the only female characters in the Disney shorts - as the respective partners of Mickey and Donald. This series adds the obscure Clarabelle Cow into a regular character, also expanding Minnie and Daisy's roles.
  • Iron Man had two Canon Foreigner villainesses named Hypnotia and Elastika, who were created in order to add some women to Iron Man's mostly-male rogues gallery.
  • Later iterations of the Jonny Quest franchise (such as Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects and Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures) introduced Jessie Bannon, daughter of Race Bannon, to add a little gender diversity to the otherwise all-male cast.
  • Hawkgirl from Justice League was added because the network wanted one more female character besides Wonder Woman. It worked out, though, because despite her relative lack of notoriety in the original comics, she ended up becoming one of the most significant (in both a good way and a bad way, according to the Broken Base) in the series, and even led to her being used more in the mainstream DC universe, which in turn was because Timm and Dini are just that good. They are in fact so good that The Movie is entirely centered around her origins and race, and even when she leaves the team she's still a huge deal later on.
  • The cartoon adaptation of The Legend of Zelda added Spryte the fairy to the cast of characters. While there are fairies in the Zelda series, there wasn't a main fairy character until Ocarina of Time, and Spryte was likely added for this reason. Strangely, Impa was not in the cartoon despite being an important female character present in the first game, but to be fair, she was only mentioned in the manual.
  • Lola Bunny basically existed in Space Jam because of how few notable female Looney Tunes there were (having Granny play basketball would be pushing suspension of disbelief, and Petunia Pig and Melissa Duck are seriously obscure). They found a gender-neutral niche for her in the comic books, and eventually turned her into a Cloud Cuckoolander and Stalker with a Crush for The Looney Tunes Show. Ironically, the character introduced solely to be Daffy Duck's girlfriend, Tina, is this for The Looney Tunes Show itself — and is more well-received than this incarnation of Lola.
  • Skeeter in Muppet Babies (1984), as Miss Piggy was the only major recurring female on the parent series, The Muppet Show. (For the record, there weren't very many minor recurring females on The Muppet Show, either. There was really just Janice, who was part of the rock band. On the other hand, Animal was part of the band, too, and they used him regardless.) And Camilla (the chicken, and Gonzo's love interest). Camilla also appeared in the cartoon as a stuffed doll that interacted with the other characters whenever they'd have their imagination sequences. Like when they did an episode on Greek mythology and needed a third female for the goddesses' contest with Paris. She was Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, to the other girls' chagrin.
  • Muppet Babies (2018) adds another new female to the main cast named Summer, again in a further attempt to appeal to female audiences.
  • PAW Patrol's first season had five male pups (Marshall, Chase, Rubble, Rocky, Zuma) and one girl (Skye). The second season added Everest, a second female pup, and Tracker, an ethnic-minority pup (he's Latino, inasmuch as that concept applies to dogs: he's bilingual in Spanish and his English is strongly accented).
  • For most of ReBoot's run in the first two seasons, the main cast had a ratio of about 4-1. (Megabyte, Bob, Enzo and Phong to Dot.) Towards the end of the second season, likely to give Enzo somebody to talk to, AndrAIa the game sprite is introduced. Afterward, series guest stars Hexadecimal and Mouse are given larger roles and made into regulars.
  • Rocko's Modern Life:
    • Dr. Hutchinson was created originally for this purpose—the writers were told they needed "a professional woman [...] with a good hook." (They took that a bit more literally than intended.) Though reluctant at first, they eventually grew fond of her and created a storyline where she dates and marries Filbert.
    • And in "Wacky Delly", a show-within-a-show from one particularly memorable episode, the three main characters each come up with their own characters for the show. Rocko's is introduced simply as "This here's Betty Bologna. She's a girl!". It is unlikely that he had any other plans for the character aside from being a token female.
  • Rugrats had Lil as the only girl in the core group of babies, with Angelica as the antagonist. Eventually Susie and later Kimi were added. The original line up of Rugrats was three boys to one girl (or two if one counts Angelica, who isn't really part of the group) and by the end was a Gender-Equal Ensemble.
  • Inverted in She-Ra: Princess of Power. Bow is The One Guy in the Five-Episode Pilot and is initially the only notable male member of the rebellion. Sea Hawk is then added into the main cast a couple of episodes later.
  • Kip Kangaroo in the second season of Shirt Tales.
  • Sassette in The Smurfs, who was a tomboy compared to Smurfette's Chick.
  • In South Park, Bebe has one day in the limelight episode, but besides that pretty much only exists for when they need a girl character other than Wendy (in particularly, playing her as Wendy's girlier Foil). Really, Wendy was the only important non-adult female early on, though as time goes on more of them are becoming Ascended Extras. Heidi was a main character as Cartman's girlfriend in Seasons 20 and 21, but returned to the background afterwards.
  • Thomas and Friends:
    • The series had mostly an all-male cast for its first six seasons. The only female engines were Mavis and Daisy, who are both diesels. Thomas and the Magic Railroad introduced Lady, a female steam locomotive, but she only appeared twice (the second time was during a dream sequence) before being forgotten by canon (and for good reason, due to being a flat, one-note character whose basis is freelanced). Other female characters included every piece of passenger rolling stock, a few road vehicles (Caroline and Elizabeth) and many human characters, notably Lady Hatt and Mrs. Kindley. Starting with Season 7 in 2003, after years of complaints from moms accusing the series of sexism, the first canon female steam locomotive, Emily, was introduced. Emily is a member of the main cast, though it came at the cost of Duck being banished from the main cast and going MIA for years. Season 9 introduced a second female steam character named Molly, who only had one lead role, several minor roles and background cameos before disappearing after the show's eleventh season. Rosie was introduced in Season 10 and has had at least one speaking role until Season 14, when she was relegated to the background (though has been regaining screentime from Season 21 onwards). Season 12 introduced Flora, a female counterpart for Toby; Flora suffered from HiT Entertainment's bad habit of introducing a character, then said character disappears without a trace as an excuse to quickly and cheaply market new toys. Season 15 introduced Belle (who wasn't well-received by fans due to having unrealistic water cannons attached to her side tanks, when her class, the British Railways 4MT, was a passenger locomotive), and Season 17 introduced Millie (the first female narrow-gauge engine) and Caitlin. More female steam locomotive characters are likely to be introduced in coming seasons.
    • In Season 22 onwards (going under the title Big World! Big Adventures!), the core cast gains TWO new female members - Nia the Kenyan tank engine, and Rebecca the yellow streamlined tender engine. Their addition expands the number of female members in the core cast from only one (Emily) to a whopping three, combined with four existing males (Thomas, James, Percy and Gordon) to form a near Gender-Equal Ensemble. According to Word of God from Mattel executives, Nia and Rebecca's introduction, much like Emily's, was done in response to criticism over the show being sexist, and also due to a rise in interest for the series from female and minority audiences. Unfortunately, Nia and Rebecca came into the series at the cost of old favourites Edward and Henry, causing the new girls to be hated by some fans, especially those who accused Mattel of doing so to force a feminist agenda where it doesn't belong (never mind the fact that Edward and Henry's characters are so flat that writing for them had become difficult compared to characters like James or Percy; even Toby, who was also removed from the Steam Team, still managed to get a leading role in the Seasons 23 and 24). Nia in particular is also the first "black" engine to be in the main cast.
    • Prior to the show's transition from scale train models to CGi, Isobella was the only female member of the Sodor Construction Company. Although Isobella wasn't carried over from the transition, Season 23 introduced two new female members to the team; Brenda the Bulldozer and Darcy the Digger. Unfortunately for Brenda, as she now fulfills Byron's position as the Sodor Construction Company's bulldozer, this has caused her to be hated by some fans of Byron, who like Isobella, wasn't carried over from the CGi transition.
  • An interesting case that stretches between the Thunderbirds of the 1960s and the most recent 2015 remake Thunderbirds Are Go. In the original series a female character by the name of Tin Tin was added to the cast to address the imbalance between the male/female character ratio — only for the show to do nothing particularly interesting with her. The remake reconceives the character as Kayo, who is given a more delineated skill set and a backstory of her own — resulting in a much more interesting and important character.
  • Arcee in The Transformers: The Movie and Season 3 of The Transformers.
  • TRON: Uprising has Paige (the more competent of Tessler's Co-Dragons), Mara (one of Beck's co-workers), Lux, Pearl, and a guest appearance from Quorra. In less than a dozen episodes, they managed to have more female characters than two movies, ten games, two graphic novels, and the ARG combined.
  • Occurs in Voltron: Legendary Defender in the form of a Gender Flip. Pidge, a male character from the original Voltron, is made a girl in the Continuity Reboot (though she originally presents as male) to balance out the gender ratio.
  • In the original Watership Down novel and animated film, Hyzenthlay was the only female with a big role. The TV series changes Blackberry to a female and expands the role of Hyzenthlay's Expy Primrose. It also adds in a female mouse character called Hannah who didn't exist in the books.
  • Inversion: In the Animated Adaptation of W.I.T.C.H., the producers added Blunk to increase the number of male characters (originally, they had only The One Guy in Caleb). Also in the second season, Matt (Will's boyfriend) was given a much bigger role, making them affirmative action guys.
  • Young Justice:
    • Artemis sort of counts: she did not join the cast until episode six, but was planned from the start (even appearing in commercials and the opening sequence).
    • Zatanna and Rocket join over the course of the first season. No other male characters joined the team until season two. The second season also added Batgirl, Wonder Girl, and Bumblebee to the team.
    • When considering new members to be added to the Justice League the three female members specifically say that another girl would be nice.
      Wonder Woman: Athena knows the League could use more female members.
      Black Canary: Agreed.
      Hawkwoman: Hear, hear!


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