St. Lucy's Priory High School

A look at Hollywood: The gender gap behind the scenes

The movie industry has come a long way in gender diversity, or so it would seem. The reality is that there is still an immense gender gap behind the scenes.

In 2016, only 17% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers of the top 250 domestic grossing films were female. This overall number has remained virtually unchanged in the last 20 years.

In addition, the television industry is not much more diverse than the film industry. Women compromised only 26 percent of all of all creators, directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and directors of photography in the programs considered.

The number of main female protagonists and women working behind the camera rose considerably when at least one of a show’s creators or executive producers were female.

A reason behind the disparity is that male directors and producers are more likely to hire employees of their same gender a majority of the time. Statistically, when a man directed a film he hired an editorial staff that was 15 percent female, a writing staff that was 8 percent female, and cinematographers were only 5 percent female.

In films where the director was female, the number of female writers, editors, and cinematographers rose significantly. In these films 52 percent of the writers were female, 35 percent of editors were female, and 26 percent of the cinematographers were female. These statistics put to rest the notion that the reason the gap is so large is that there simply are not as many women in the film industry.

In addition to the gender driven hiring standards, there appears to be a bias in the film industry. In independent, usually smaller, films there was a rise in the number of female directors. This is because these types of films are seen as lower risk for producers as compared with huge blockbuster films.

This imbalance between men and women goes beyond directors, producers and other behind the scene jobs. It applies also to actresses as well.

Females compromised only 34 percent of all major characters and 33 percent of all speaking parts. There is also a bias of age. The majority of female characters were in their ’20s and ’30s, while the majority of male characters were in their ’30s and ’40s.

The figures for opportunities involving women of color become even more discouraging. Only 11 percent of all female characters were African-American, and 4 percent of all female characters were Latina or Asian. Also, women of color were less likely to have been major characters than Caucasian women.

–Lily Ramirez

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