175 of the top-grossing 500 films of the year had no female director, writer, producer, or cinematographer
For almost two decades, the US research body the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego University has released its Celluloid Ceiling study, an annual report that examines the roles played by women working being the scenes in the entertainment industry. Covering every job from editing to producing and directing, this year’s report has very concerning news for those hoping to shorten the gender gap.
Looking at 2016’s 100, 250 and 500 top-grossing films at the American box office, the study found that despite the industry being under greater scrutiny than ever to turn the tide, the number of women working behind the scenes actually fell on the previous year.
Based on box office return for the last 12 months, Celluloid Ceiling concludes that just when it came to the top 250 films of 2016 only 7% of them were directed by a woman. That is down from 9% in 2015, and also represents a 2% fall from as far back as 1998.
Other findings reported in the study suggest that just 17% of all the directors, writers, producers, executive producer, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 films were female. Of all the behind the scenes positions polled, women ranked worst when it come to music composers, where only 3% were female – which the study acknowledge was, at least, 1% more than the previous year.
Of all the 500 films examined in the study, 175 titles did not employ a single woman as director, writer, producer, executive producer, editor, or cinematographer.
A positive statistic hidden among the data showed that in movies with at least one female director on staff, there was a corresponding uptake in the number of women working behind the scenes on that feature. When it came to the writing staff, when a film was directed by a woman, 64% of the scripts had female writers. On films with only male directors, women made up less than 10% of the writers.