June 9, 2021

With Nomadland having nabbed Best Picture at this year’s Oscars and with Chloé Zhao taking home Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing, it’s clear that women have more chances than ever in the film industry. The question is, how open is the film industry to women nowadays? Also, how much have these odds increased for female success in the movie business, and how can we raise those numbers? Looking at this article from The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, we can take a deeper look into these questions.

First of all, the number of the top 100 highest-grossing films has practically quadrupled in recent years. It’s not double, not triple, but quadruple what it was in 2018. It cannot be understated how massive of an improvement this is, with women comprising 16% of female directors as of 2020. As for the top 250, that number has increased quite a lot, although it isn’t as big of an upgrade. That number is currently 18%, up from 8% in 2018 and 13% in 2019.

Now for some broader stats. Women now comprise 23% of all producers, executive producers, writers, editors, cinematographers, and directors for the top 250 highest-grossing films. This is a minor yet noticeable bump from 2019’s slightly lower percentage of 21. 67% of these films employed 0-4 women in these roles while only 24% hired 5-9. This leaves a minuscule 9% of them that hired ten or more women. These aren’t very good numbers when you take into consideration that 71% of box office hits hired 10 or more men.

The indie scene once again triumphs over Hollywood (as to be expected). 38% of these films are directed by women, which is a significantly more pleasant number than that of the more profit-focused works. Not to mention that women comprise 35% of indie writers. This isn’t anything new either, as these movies have always hired more female talent than the films with larger mass appeal due to the inherent sexism found in the mainstream industry at large.

Now, what can we do to increase these numbers? If you know any women who are interested in filmmaking, you absolutely should encourage them to head down that path if they so desire. If you work in a high position in the film industry, make sure to take gender diversity into account when hiring. Most importantly, support independent cinema and seek art created by females. 


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