Extreme gender bias in Hollywood jobs is not improving

Since 1998, the number of women working off-camera in films has increased by only 8 percentage points. Source: The celluloid ceiling. Created with Datawrapper.

The percentage of female directors in America’s top 100 films fell to 12% in 2021, following records in 2020, according to The Celluloid Ceiling’s 24th Annual Report.

The study, conducted by Dr Martha M. Lauzen of San Diego State University, found that the number of women working off-camera on films increased by only 8 percentage points, from 17 % in 1998 to 25% in 2021.

Lauzen’s findings point out that an increased dialogue around women in the film industry has not led to a major shift in the portrayal of behind-the-scenes roles.

“Given the volume of public and industry dialogue, countless panels and engagements on this issue, shouldn’t we expect more substantial growth over the past two decades? Lauzen wrote in an email to the Observer.

Lauzen, who has followed the representation of women in the film industry for more than 20 years, said the emergence of social media stars and the creative economy will not solve fundamental problems in the film industry: ” While users of new platforms, women and men, may have greater familiarity and ease with visual media, the same barriers to entry into the mainstream film industry remain. The underemployment of women on these issues is not a pipeline problem, ”she wrote. “The hope was that women working on independent productions would eventually be hired to work on feature films in the studio, as was the case for men,” added Lauzen.

The study also took into account changing viewing habits due to the ongoing pandemic by analyzing the Digital Entertainment Group’s home watch list. The DEG list found that women made up 13% of writers, 21% of producer executives and 19% of publishers.

“We know the names of the women who have directed studio films – Chloe Zhao, Patty Jenkins and a few others – because they are relatively rare,” Lauzen said. “To conclude that women have achieved great success or a certain level of parity based on a few high-level women leads us to inaccurate conclusions. ”

Extreme gender bias in Hollywood jobs is not improving

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