New study finds male dominance in Hollywood unchanged

Getty Images
Patty Jenkins Greta Gerwig

Getty Images Patty Jenkins Greta Gerwig

On films with exclusively male directors, women accounted for just 8 percent of writers.

"The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 100, 250, and 500 Films of 2017" found that women made up 18% of all the directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers who worked on the top 250 USA films released past year. This figure is just slightly more than the 17 percent measured in 1998 - a gain of just 1 percent in the past 20 years.

The number of behind-the-scenes jobs held by women in the top 250 films has seen virtually no progress in the past two decades, according to a study published Wednesday by San Diego State's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

Reinforcing findings of past studies, Lauzen determined that having women lead a film as director means that more women are brought on as writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers.

"The film industry has utterly failed to address the continuing underemployment of women behind the scenes", said Martha M. Lauzen, the study's author. Revelations of systemic sexual harassment of women (and sometimes men) rocked the entertainment world - snaring Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Garrison Keillor, and many others, and spawning the #MeToo movement.

"We have found that year after year, when a film has at least one female director, the percentage of female protagonists goes up... people tend to create what they know".

A recent study about women working in Hollywood is backing up that disparity.

The study comes as Hollywood has been plagued with sexual misconduct accusations, and in response, stars came together at Sunday's Golden Globes by wearing head-to-toe black to protest sexual harassment, abuse and gender inequality.

"2016 was a poor year for women's employment as directors".

Eighty-eight percent of the top 250 domestic grossing films had no female director, while 83 percent had no female writers, and 96 percent had no women cinematographers. Female cinematographers only represented 2 percent of the top 100 films.

Of the top 250 grossing domestic films, 30% of titles featured zero or one woman in behind-the-scenes jobs. Just 4% of cinematographers on the top 250 films a year ago were women.

In some ways, 2017 was a big year for female filmmakers, as directors like Patty Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, and Dee Rees achieved critical and box office success across genres.

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