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Women in film

As the number of female directors in Hollywood declines, experts ponder government intervention

January 15, 2017

Despite the efforts of Hollywood’s leading women to raise awareness about issues such as the gender pay gap and the obstacles faced by female directors, a new report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University appears to show that opportunities for women in the movie business are not increasing, but, rather, declining.

According to the report, the percentage of women directors working on the 250 highest-grossing domestic releases declined from nine percent in 2015 to seven percent in 2016. The number of producers working on the top 250 films of 2016 also declined by two percent from the year before, while the number of women editors declined by five percent. Overall, 96 percent of the year’s top films lacked even a single female cinematographer.

“I would say I’m dumbfounded,” said Martha Lauzen, executive director of the center and chief author of the study. “It is remarkable that with all of the attention and talk over the last couple of years in the business and the film industry, the numbers actually declined. Clearly the current remedies aren’t working.”

Films with female directors, the study found, were significantly more likely to hire female writers, editors, cinematographers, and composers than films directed by men. In films with female directors, women accounted for 64 percent of writers, 43 percent of editors, and 16 percent of cinematographers. In films with male directors, women made up nine percent of writers, 17 percent of editors, and six percent of cinematographers.

As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to investigate gender discrimination in Hollywood, Lauzen, for one, has suggested that governmental intervention might be necessary to change things.

“The industry has shown little real will to change in a substantive way,” she said. “For real change to occur we may need some intervention by an outside source.”

Read the full story at Variety.


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