Women face celluloid ceiling in U.S. film industry, study finds

Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:40pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - Women lag far behind men in reaching the top jobs in the film business as a study on Tuesday found only 9 percent of directors of the top 250 grossing Hollywood films in 2012 were women - the same level as 15 years ago.

The figures from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University were released a month ahead of the Oscars, where no women have made the shortlist for best director.

"Zero Dark Thirty" is the only movie nominated for a best picture award to have been directed by a woman - Oscar-winning Kathryn Bigelow who was the first and still only female director to win the best director award, in 2010, for "The Hurt Locker." Bigelow was not nominated this year in the best director category

Martha Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, said the number of women directors of top films was up from 5 percent in 2011 but back at the same level as in 2008 and even 15 years ago.

She said the percentages had bounced between 5 percent and 9 percent for the past 15 years with the exception of 2000 when women accounted for 11 percent of directors.

"The bottom line is that the percentage of women directors has been declining for the last 5 years," Lauzen told Reuters.

She said women's representation in key positions in the film industry was important not only as an employment issue but also as a larger cultural issue as people tended to gravitate to creative projects that reflected their own personal reality.

"If (white) men are directing the vast majority of our films, the majority of those films will be about (white) males from a (white) male point of view," said Lauzen.

"Increasingly, this perspective does not reflect the community of filmmakers in this country or the community of moviegoers."   Continued...