The Celluloid Ceiling 2011

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The latest Celluloid Ceiling report, which analyses the gender statistics of women working behind-the-scenes on the top 250 domestic grossing films in the US, shows that women accounted for just 5% of directors in 2011. That represents a decrease of 2 percentage points from 2010 and almost half the number of women directors working in 1998, suggesting that women’s presence in this key creative role in the film industry is getting worse, not better.

In other roles, the report shows that women comprised 14% of writers, 18% of executive producers, 25% of producers, 20% of editors, and 4% of cinematographers. 

WFTV (UK) Chief Executive, Kate Kinninmont, said: 

“It’s shocking to find that gender equality in Hollywood is now actually running backwards. When Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Best Director Oscar in 2010, we hoped this was a sign that the dominant male culture in Hollywood was beginning to drag itself into the 21st century. 

A previous piece of research by Dr Martha Lauzen, Women@ The Box Office, concludes that movies made by women perform just as well at the box office as movies made by men so where's the problem?”

Dr Martha Lauzen, Executive Director of The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film in San Diego, which conducted this research, commented: 

“While Bigelow's win was very well-deserved and most likely gave her career a boost, it seems unlikely that issues as complex as bias in women's employment and representation can be so easily resolved. 

Women's under-representation is the result of many factors operating at multiple levels.  As filmmaking has become more of a business, the studios have become more interested in minimizing their risk.  If women are viewed as "riskier hires," they are less likely to be considered for employment, and certainly not for big-budget, high-profile films.

In addition, the film industry does not exist in a vacuum.  The attitudes about women that are held by those working in the industry reflect more general beliefs about women and what they can accomplish.  Because these attitudes are deeply held, it can take a long time to change them.”

Kinninmont continued:

“These statistics are appalling, but understanding how bad they are is the first step to making things better. WFTV invites academics working on gender issues in film and television in the UK to contact us. We can publicise their work widely within the industry.” 

To read the executive summary of the report, click here.

For more information about Dr. Martha M. Lauzen and the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, and to read past research, click here.

Report compiled by Dr. Martha M. Lauzen,
Executive Director, Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film,
School of Theatre, Television and Film, San Diego State University, San Diego.

Copyright © 2011 – All rights reserved.

Article Link: 
Resource Type: 
Report & Statistics