The Bechdel test, aka the Bechdel-Wallace test, is a measure of the proportionate representation of women to men in movies and general fiction. Crucially it questions whether a work includes at least two named women who talk to each other about matters other than that which pertains to a man.
Passing or failing the test is not absolutely indicative of whether women are represented positively in any single work. But the test is there to indicate the active presence of women in the complete field of film, TV and literature, rather to direct attention to gender inequality. Interestingly, industry studies indicate that films that pass the test make more money than those that fail.
The test was named after the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, in whose 1985 comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For the test first appeared. Bechdel credited the idea to her friend Liz Wallace and the writings of Virginia Woolf.
After all the discussion about what exactly constitutes a woman, this test may become progressively irrelevant.