Despite a few outliers, it seems that the film industry has made little to no headway in hiring female directors since 1998.
According to a recent report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, females made up just 9% of directors from the top 250 domestic grossing films in the US — the same percentage as in 1998.
The Center has been collecting data for 17 years, and the highest concentration of female directors in a year so far was in 2000 when women made up 11% of the top 250 films.
Women were underrepresented in other fields of the film industry too, with females making up 26% of producers, 22% of editors, 20% of executive producers, 11% of writers and 6% of cinematographers.
Dr Martha Lauzen, the report’s author and the Center’s executive director, admitted that big changes don’t come quickly in such a large industry but was not optimistic that such improvements could be expected any time soon.
“It would be unrealistic to expect that attitudes about women as directors to change overnight,” she said. “But nothing in this data suggests that change is on the horizon.”
Despite these numbers, two female directors in 2015 headed highly successful projects — Elizabeth Banks’ Pitch Perfect 2 and Sam Taylor-Johnson’s (above) Fifty Shades of Grey performed very well at the box office.
Last year the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission launched an investigation into hiring practices in Hollywood, following pleas from leading females within the industry, such as director Kathryn Bigalow and actor Jennifer Lawrence.
Let’s hope that 2016 is a much bigger and better year for women in film.