By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood July 23, 2014 at 3:19PM
We here at Women and Hollywood are always interested in new data that reveals where women stand in the film industry. Today, Stephen Follows, a producer and writer in the UK, released a new study called Gender Within Film Crews, and not surprisingly, men dominate most positions.
This data wonk took the 100 top-grossing films at the US box office over the last 20 years -- 2,000 films in all -- broke down all the crew positions, and discovered that women make up a paltry 22.6% of people behind the camera. And sadly, the number in 2013, at 21.8%, is lower than the average of the past twenty years. What this clearly shows is that opportunities for women working behind the scenes in film has not increased over two decades and, in many places, the number has gone down.
Mr. Follows, who blogs about film data each week, painstakingly went through each crew position, and the data tells us that certain departments, like camera, electrical, sound, and special effects, hire mostly men, while other departments like makeup, costumes, and casting hire more women. But all in all, men outnumber women across the board. (Caveat: I take a bit of an issue with including the "thanks" section as a crew department.)
Other facts of note:
- Musicals have more women on the crew and action films have less.
- Opportunities for women as directors, writers and producers have decreased over the two decades.
- Women went from 0% cinematographers to only 2% -- fucking awful.
- Tina Fey will save the world. Mean Girls had the highest amount of female crew members in the last 20 years -- 42% -- and Steven Segal's On Deadly Ground had the least -- 10%.
- All of the films that were most popular with men were written and directed by men.
- 42% of the films that were most popular with women were written by women.
- Women go to see more romances, comedies and dramas; men go to see more action, thrillers and sci- fi.
This data shows what we all know already, that serious work needs to be done in the hiring stage and that people need to work much much harder to have gender diversity on their crews. These numbers are just brutal, and people who work in this business should be very concerned that women are being shut out of so many positions.