The latest update to the Celluloid Ceiling Report, which tracks women’s employment in cinema, shows that women are represented in more behind-the-scenes roles than ever before
The report, by Dr Martha Lauzen of the San Diego State University, is in its 23rd year and is recognised as the longest-running report of its kind. Since 1998, it has tracked over 73,000 credits.
This year’s study tracked over 2,700 off-camera credits from the 250 top-grossing films in the USA.
In 2020, women comprised 23% of all directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 films. In 2019, this figure was 21%, indicating a small change within the industry.
However, this new figure is only 6% higher than 1998.
Dr Lauzen said: “Even without the release of some of this year’s most anticipated big-budget films by women – including Chloé Zhao’s Eternals and Cate Shortland’s Black Widow – the percentage of women working as directors inched upward in 2020.”
She continued: “The good news is that we’ve now seen two consecutive years of growth for women who direct. This breaks a recent historical pattern in which the numbers trend up one year and down the next.
The bad news is that 80% of top films still do not have a woman at the helm.”
In 2020, the majority of films (67%) employed 0 to 4 women in the roles considered. In contrast, 5% of films employed 0 to 4 men in these roles.
Of the films studied:
- 80% had no women directors
- 73% had no women writers
- 41% had no women exec. producers
- 26% had no women producers
- 72% had no women editors
- 94% had no women cinematographers
“The imbalance is stunning,” added Dr Lauzen.
The full study can be read here.
Words by Emily Withers
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