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The gender gap for women in Hollywood is glaring, new study shows

12 January 2018

In the Center's study, The Celluloid Ceiling, 11% of the directors in last year's top-grossing movies were women, though that only indicates a four-percent increase from 2016 - and the numbers across the board are dismal.

Aside from not tackling the underemployment issue head-on, major Hollywood studios were also found guilty of discriminatory hiring practices in early 2017 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in an investigation which claimed every studio systematically discriminated against hiring female directors. 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. And under the new Time's Up banner, actresses may have taken center stage at the Golden Globe Awards to demand gender equality and an end to sexual harassment.

Of the top 250 films, 88 percent had no female directors; 83 percent had no female writers; 45 percent had no female executive producers; 28 percent had no female producers; 80 percent had no female editors; and 96 percent had no female cinematographers. Films featuring female directors, meanwhile, were more likely to employ a higher percentage of female writers, editors, cinematographers and composers than male directors.

More women directed the top 250 highest-grossing domestic films in 2017 compared to the year before, according to a new study, but the increased figure is a far cry from marked progress. That number was virtually unchanged from the 17 percent who held such roles 20 years ago in 1998.

When looking at the percentage of individuals employed behind the scenes of 2017's top films - whether as directors, executive producers, cinematographers, writers or editors - women only made up 18%, increasing by just one point since 2016. Slightly less than 30 percent of films had no or just one woman in the aforementioned roles. For example, in films with female directors, women comprised 68 percent of writers. And the percentage of women cinematographers remained the same at 4 percent.

Only 11% were writers and 4% worked as cinematographers.

Women were also absent from some of the key categories in the BAFTA nominations, which were announced Tuesday. Female cinematographers only represented 2 percent of the top 100 films.

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.

The gender gap for women in Hollywood is glaring, new study shows