Women under-represented in top 2018 Hollywood films, says study

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Los Angeles: Women in Hollywood have made their presence felt in production and editing jobs, but they backslid as feature film directors and continue on a path of 'radical under-representation' in the industry, according to a new study.

Martha Lauzen's 'Celluloid Ceiling' is a report of women's behind-the-scenes employment in film, run out of San Diego State University (SDSU). Its analysis indicates blazing criticism that Hollywood's value shift is only lip service until the industry commits to transparency, reported variety.com.

"The study provides no evidence that the mainstream film industry has experienced the profound positive shift predicted by so many industry observers over the last year. This radical under-representation is unlikely to be remedied by the voluntary efforts of a few individuals or a single studio," said Lauzen, study author and executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at SDSU.

Lauzen said that without a large-scale effort mounted by the major players – the studios, talent agencies, guilds, and associations – meaningful change is unlikely.

"The distance from 8 per cent to some semblance of parity is simply too vast. What is needed is a will to change, ownership of the issue – meaning the effort originates with the major players, transparency, and the setting of concrete goals. Will, ownership, transparency, and goals are the keys to moving forward," Lauzen added.

The findings are based on a survey of employment of 3,076 individuals working on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2018.

In 2018, women comprised 20 per cent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films. This represents an increase of 2 percentage points from 18 per cent in 2017.

Last year, only 1 per cent of films employed 10 or more women in the (the surveyed) roles. In contrast, 74 per cent of films employed 10 or more men, variety.com reported.

Women accounted for 8 per cent of directors working on the top 250 films in 2018, down by 3 percentage points from 11 per cent in 2017. This is 1 percentage point below the 9 per cent achieved in 1998.

To put it another way, 92 per cent of the films had no women directors, 73 per cent had no women writers, 42 per cent had no women executive producers, 27 per cent had no women producers, 74 per cent had no women editors, and 96 per cent had no women cinematographers.

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