Women 'struggling' in Hollywood, according to new study

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

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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.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Artists with original ideas- male or female- are the ones who are struggling in Hollywood. That is, assuming that they haven't given up and gone independent

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    It seems rather naive to think that there simply aren't any women who want to direct movies, or that the Invisible Hand will naturally sift whoever can make money to the top. The people and companies who hire on directors can in fact be sexist; to pretend that capitalism prevents sexist discrimination makes as much sense as saying it prevents racial discrimination. Both ideas are nonsensical.

  • 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 28.

    So, perhaps this news confirms that straight white men are still in control of the world, even though the serial whingers try to claim otherwise.

  • 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......


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