Study shows women are underrepresented in the film industry

January 16, 2017, San Diego State University
Study shows women are underrepresented in the film industry
In 2016, just seven percent of the top 250 domestic grossing films were directed by women. Credit: Tallgrass Pictures

In 2016, women comprised just seven percent of all directors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films, according to the 19th annual Celluloid Ceiling report released by Martha Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. This figure represents a decline from nine percent in 2015 and is two percent below the level achieved in 1998.

"The findings indicate that who direct actually lost ground in 2016," Lauzen said. "The current small-scale remedies for women's under-employment, while they may be well-intentioned and benefit a handful of individuals, are ineffective in addressing this issue. The efforts, such as the mentoring and shadowing programs, are simply too meager to create the kind of shift that is needed."

In other roles, women accounted for 13 percent of writers, 17 percent of executive producers, 24 percent of producers, 17 percent of editors and five percent of cinematographers. Overall, women comprised 17 percent of individuals working in the roles mentioned. This represents a decline of two percent from 2015 and is even with the figure obtained in 1998.

"Women working in key behind-the-scenes roles have yet to benefit from the current dialogue regarding diversity and inclusion in the ," Lauzen noted.

This year's study also considers the employment of women on the top 100 and 500 domestic grossing films. The analysis of the top 500 films reveals that features with at least one woman director employ higher percentages of women writers, editors, cinematographers and composers than films with exclusively male . For example, on films with female directors, women comprised 64 percent of writers. On films with exclusively male directors, women accounted for nine percent of writers.

Explore further: Study finds that women and minorities are still underrepresented among actors, directors and executives

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