Percentage of women behind the camera hasn't changed, study finds

Maricruz Casares
Enero 13, 2018

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. "When you have women working behind the scenes that frequently translates into more female characters on screens and you tend to see more powerful female characters".

More women worked in the top 250 films of the year in 2017 - but looking at the actual percentages reveals a significant lack of progress overall, according to an annual study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

Other statistics in the report are equally damning: In 2017, 1 percent of the top-grossing 250 films employed 10 or more women behind the scenes, while 70 percent employed 10 or more men. She pointed to her research that found only 1% of films past year employed 10 or more women as directors, producers, editors, writers and cinematographers.

Lauzen also found that women made up 16% of editors, 11% of writers and 11% of the directors on the top 250 films. Last week, 300 prominent women in Hollywood unveiled a high-powered campaign called Time's Up that is created to demand change and provide a legal defense fund for women who have suffered sexual harassment or assault at work. Women writers represented 11 percent working on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2017.

As they have in the past, the studies give statistical evidence to the widespread alarm about gender equality in Hollywood.

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Historical comparisons between 1998 and 2017 showed that female directors, executive producers and producers have increased, while women writers and editors have declined. On films with female directors, writers were 68% female, compared with 8% for films directed by men. In the top 100 films, women also fared best as producers (24 percent), followed by executive producers (15 percent).

The Celluloid Ceiling is the longest-running and most comprehensive study of women's behind-the-scenes employment in film available.

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. Films featuring female directors, meanwhile, were more likely to employ a higher percentage of female writers, editors, cinematographers and composers than male directors.

Take a look at which films directed by women are on this list, unadjusted for inflation.

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