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SDSU Study Finds Women Largely Underrepresented in Hollywood

13 January 2018

"This negligence has produced a toxic culture that supported the recent sexual harassment scandals and truncates so many women's careers".

"The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 100, 250, and 500 Films of 2017" found that women made up 18% of all the directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers who worked on the top 250 U.S. films released previous year.

In addition, the study found that only one per cent of the top 250 films employed 10 or more women in "key behind-the-scenes positions", while 70 per cent employed 10 or more men in the same roles. Going back further to 1998 reveals an even more depressing trend - the number of women working in the 250 top films of the year has never exceeded more than 19%.

"We have found that year after year, when a film has at least one female director, the percentage of female protagonists goes up... people tend to create what they know".

The study comes as Hollywood has been plagued with sexual misconduct accusations, and in response, stars came together at Sunday's Golden Globes by wearing head-to-toe black to protest sexual harassment, abuse and gender inequality.

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. The percentage of female cinematographers has stayed exactly the same.

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To me it falls into the spirit of the game and I was making that point to George ... but he is quite entitled to do it differently", he added.

Eighty-eight percent of the top 250 domestic grossing films had no female director, while 83 percent had no female writers, and 96 percent had no women cinematographers.

"2016 was actually a very poor year for women's representation as directors", Lauzen said in an interview, "So I'm not surprised to see a bit of a rebound in 2017". Slightly less than one-third employed zero or only one woman in these roles, while none of the movies employed zero or only one man. In the top 100 films, women also fared best as producers (24 percent), followed by executive producers (15 percent).

If the scale is adjusted to the top 100 films in 2017, women working behind the scenes only account for a total of 16%. In 1998, the same calculation of behind-the-scenes jobs for women was 17 percent.

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.

Take a look at which films directed by women are on this list, unadjusted for inflation.

SDSU Study Finds Women Largely Underrepresented in Hollywood