Women in Entertainment: Women Hire Women (No Shit)

'Pitch Perfect 3,' 2018 (Indiewire)

‘Pitch Perfect 3,’ 2018 (Indiewire)

Does it surprise anyone that women are more likely to hire women than men are likely to hire women? No? Great, than this next piece of information will totally make sense: The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film put out a recent study that examined women’s employment in the entertainment industry in certain high-level behind-the-scenes capacities (director, writer, composer, etc.) for the top 250 films of 2017 and the top 100 and top 500 films of 2015.

What this study, aptly titled “The Celluloid Ceiling,” found was that on films with more than one female director, more women were hired for other top roles. The study looked at the incidence of women being hired as writers, editors, cinematographers and composers, and that incidence went up dramatically (ha) when women were also directors, or at least one director.

How dramatically? Women directors employed women writers at a 60% increase than male directors, and employed women composers at a 10% increase than male directors.

For those who require their data in visual form, here’s a graph of said increases:

Graph examining incidence of women hired for top-level behind-the-scenes work with at least one female director vs. exclusively male directors ('The Celluloid Ceiling' Report 2018)

Graph examining incidence of women hired for top-level behind-the-scenes work with at least one female director vs. exclusively male directors (‘The Celluloid Ceiling’ Report 2018)

I have to level with everyone here: I definitely assumed I’d see a sizable uptick in women being hired if there was already a women in the top spot (i.e. director). But I had no idea it’s be this large of a difference.

This also begs the question: Which movies are more likely to have women as directors? Though the “The Celluloid Ceiling” report doesn’t answer that directly, it does shed some light on certain genres which may favor women directors a bit more:

By genre, the largest percentage of women, relative to men, worked in documentaries (30%), followed by comedies (23%), dramas (22%), sci-fi features (20%), animated features (19%), horror features (18%), and action features (13%).

Personally, I’d like to see more women in dramas, sci-fi, and horror, but any gain works! Now let’s make more of them!!

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Women in Entertainment: Some Basic Stats

Sofia Coppola (Junkee)

Sofia Coppola (Junkee)

Let’s kick off some basic stats about women in entertainment, shall we? Because knowledge is power, and let’s change this shit! I pulled these from a variety of sources; all figures are from 2017 unless otherwise noted.

Film:

(All figures for the top 100 domestic highest-grossing films of 2017)

  • Women comprised 10% of directors, 8% of writers, and 2% of cinematographers.
  • Women comprised 37% of major characters, and comprised 34% of all speaking characters.
  • In terms of female characters’ race and ethnicity, 68% of female characters were white, 16% were Black, 7% were Latina, 7% were Asian, and 2% were defined as “other” (no delineation given).
  • Women comprised 5% of total leaders depicted, compared to 8% for men.

 

TV:

(All data pulled from the 2016-2017 television season)

  • Women comprised “42% of major characters on broadcast network, cable, and streaming programs.”
  • For womens’ speaking roles with respect to race and ethnicity, Black women spoke in 19% of all roles, Asian women spoke in 6% of all roles, and Latina women spoke in 5% of all roles. Each group showed gains year-over-year.
  • Women comprised 28% of creators, directors and writers and other above-the line functions as defined by the survey.
  • Four women or fewer were employed in certain behind the scenes roles at 50% of programs.

And finally, this gem:

Hollywood’s top paid union executive—a man—earned 60 percent more than the highest-paid female union executive.

Makes you want to burn it all down, doesn’t it? And there are many more of these depressing and disappointing statistics out there.

Hopefully with all the awareness and dialogue surrounding gender disparity in the field right now, we’re on track to make some BIG changes.