Women 'struggling' in Hollywood, according to new study

Kathryn Bigelow Kathryn Bigelow was the first female director to win an Oscar in 2010

Related Stories

Only 9% of directors of the top 250 grossing Hollywood films in 2012 were women, a study has found.

Despite the low figure, it is a 4% increase from 2011's numbers, the Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film said.

The research found women comprised 18% of all directors, executive producers, writers, cinematographers and editors.

It also showed women were more likely to work in the documentary, drama and animated film genres.

The Centre has been conducting the industry survey for more than a decade to track trends.

The number of female producers has held steady at 25% for the past two years, while female writers rose to 15%, up from a low of 10% in 2006.

The number of female editors between 1998-2012 has remained fairly constant in the 20%-21% range. Cinematographers have fluctuated between 2%-4%, although figures for 2012 were on the low end of the range.

No women have made it onto the shortlist for best director at this year's Oscars, while Zero Dark Thirty is the only best picture nominee to have been directed by a woman - Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow.

A separate study by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film showed women fared better in the independent film sector.

Looking at films shown at the Sundance Film Festival over the past decade - and accounting for 820 narrative and documentary films - researchers found women represented 29.8% of some 11,000 filmmakers.

There are more women working in documentary films than narrative films, but study director Stacy Smith said her research found that "as commerce moves in, females move out".

Women In Film president Cathy Schulman added: "This data shows us that there is a higher representation of female filmmakers in independent film as compared to Hollywood - but it also highlights the work that is still to be done for women to achieve equal footing in the field."

The study also found that films directed by women employ greater numbers of women behind the camera than those made by men.

The organisers of last year's Cannes Film Festival were criticised when the list of 22 films nominated for its top prize, the Palme d'Or, was entirely made up of male directors.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    The truth is it is a family buisness. Gone are the days of the bright eyed talent from the mid west looking to get the break. Hollywood produces few great movies and I believe it is a result of a reduced gene pool. It is a political left agenda driven organization. Making violent movies yet rallying for gun control. No Credibility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Good journalism 'struggling' in Fleet St.

    Only 9% of journalists who wrote the top 250 articles in 2012 had 2 brain cells to rub together, a study has found.

    The research found independent thinking journalists comprised 1.8% of all columnists, feature writers, editors and sundry hacks.

    "Please show me which way the wind is blowing so I can write a load of drivel about it, please" said a(pg 94)

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Funny how we don't get regular articles on the BBC about the 'appalling' lack of female representation amoungst sewer workers. It seems only high paid, high status positions are of interest to 'gender equality'. Almost as if all the 'little male people' doing the dirty, dangerous or difficult jobs that make civilisation work, are invisible, not of interest and not part of a 'gender issue'

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Hollywood is so politically controlled now it's a wonder anything of any merit ever makes it to the theaters anymore. And the ticket prices! $50 for my wife and I to see Anna Karenina for goodness sake! It wasn't that long ago the best seats for a stage play were that price. I don't even want to get started about the current prices of those tickets now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Here we go again - yet MORE persecuted women. Seems to me that they are virtually taking over the BBC - pathetic PC nonsense...

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Bearing in mind that much of America's output is brim-full of special effects, shouting hysterics, pointless background music and slurred dialogue that requires subtitles, plus a host of remakes and sequels because of a lack of original thought, I should think women must be glad to be seen in the minority.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Part of it may be a preconceived notion that this is a man's job. You may even have actresses that don't like being directed by a woman - or filmed by one - go figure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.


    Why should there be parity? Because men are not better than women at making films......

    ....you inadvertantly hit the nail on the head - connections....

    ...birds of a feather flock together and all that.....

    ...male producers give male directors more chances than female.....which is discrimination for no good reason......

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    How much more evidence of male bias across life do we need before we act?

    By any reasonable measures there are very, very few industries in which men are better than women, or visa versa.....

    ....so why the idfferences? Only one explanation......


  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    @25yearsin. I wouldn't say that women don't get the same opportunities. There are plenty of women earning more than me at my current job and previous jobs. If we're getting into that, the biggest victims are young people. Less chance of getting promotion over someone experience, less salary because someone has been there longer but does a worse job. Just to get a job is a challenge if you're young

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    The only thing Bigelow's proven is that women can make films every bit as badly as men can.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    I'm just amused at the notion of anyone in Hollywood 'struggling'..

    Come on BBC... seriously?

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    How are they going to sort this out?

    Force people to pay to watch films directed by women?

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight knowing that there are some female directors in Hollywood that are struggling to get their movies made....

    It must be so hard for them, my heart bleeds!

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    The biggest enemy for talented women are un-talented women married to the men they are competing with, especially if there
    is a Tel Aviv link!

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    well said stevio - there is never going to be complete "parity" - some group will always be underrepresented no matter how hard they try to "even the playing field" you just can't make room for everyone.

    unless Soylent Green becomes a reality lolz

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    They should make a film about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Women in the business are not given the same opportunities. I am male and I do see it happen.It is a shame but it is true.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    'equality', the new age buzz word! much as 'fairness and honesty' shimmers in the darkness of human existence.


Page 3 of 5


More Entertainment & Arts stories



  • Man with typewriterLove to Patrick

    The official whose over-familiar letters infuriated his boss

  • Man's hands putting ring on woman's fingerName changer

    Why do wives take a man's name after marriage?

  • Person scratching their arm10 things

    Scratching really does make things itch, and other nuggets

  • Corsican flagCorsican mafia

    Are Corsica's days of mafia and militants over?

  • Mobil canopies on the A6 at Red Hill, LeicestershireEnglish heritage

    Zebra crossings to bus stations: unusual listed buildings

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.