Over the last four years, the numbers of women working as directors, exec producers, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers on the top 250 domestic grossing films has declined from 19% in 2001 to 16% in 2004. For 2005, that figure was 17% — the same percentage of women employed in these roles in 1998. Dr. Martha Lauzen of San Diego State’s School of Communication found that women accounted for only 7% of directors in 2005, a slight increase from 2004 but far less than the recent historical high of 11% recorded in 2000. Some other figures: Women comprised 16% of all exec producers working on the top 250 films of 2005, 26% of all the producers, 11% of the writers, 16% of the editors, 3% of the cinematographers. By genre, women were most likely to work on documentaries and romantic comedies and least likely to work on horror, action and animated features. For more, see here. The study prompted Womens Media Center contributor Melissa Silverstein to ask why more women aren’t directing movies. “Because gender disparity runs rampant throughout the Hollywood studio system,” she wrote. “The sad truth is the trend is not new. But it occurs at a time when the film and media communities seem to believe that women in record numbers are powerful decision-makers in Hollywood…. How could a community that prides itself on its liberalism and progressivism fail so miserably in this area? At the top film schools UCLA and NYU, women and men study film in roughly equal numbers. Are women not tough enough to handle the all-consuming role of director, or unwilling to sacrifice for the chance? … ‘Sometimes I think being labeled sexist in that community is not seen as negative but a badge of honor,’ says Martha Lauzen.” To read the full article, including my quotes and suggestion that a consortium of Hollywood women should open an independent studio, click here.
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