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Friday, December 3, 2021

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New Study Finds Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women in Film Industry Increases

The “Celluloid Ceiling” report has tracked women’s employment on top grossing films for 22 years.
By SDSU News Team
 

The percentages of women working in key behind-the-scenes roles on the top 100 and 250 grossing films reached historic highs in 2019, though women remained significantly outnumbered compared to their male counterparts according to the 22nd annual “Celluloid Ceiling” report released by Martha Lauzen, executive director of San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.  

Women comprised 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 100 (domestic) grossing films of 2019, up from 16% in 2018. Women also accounted for 21% of individuals in these roles on the top 250 films, up slightly from 20% in 2018. Women held steady at 23% of individuals in key behind-the-scenes roles on the top 500 films.

“While the numbers moved in a positive direction this year, men continue to outnumber women four-to-one in key behind-the-scenes roles. It’s odd to talk about reaching historic highs when women remain so far from parity,” Lauzen said.

Women made up 12% of directors working on the top 100 grossing films in 2019, up from 4% in 2018 (and 8% in 2017), and 13% on the top 250 films, up from 8% in 2018 (and 11% in 2017). These figures represent historic highs, however, the percentage of women working as directors on the top 500 films declined slightly from 15% in 2018 to 14% in 2019.  

“It will be tempting to look at the increase of women directing top 100 and top 250 films and conclude that 2019 was a major turning point for women’s employment. That may be true but we won’t know if 2019 was a single good year or the beginning of an upward trend until we see the numbers for 2020 and 2021,” Lauzen said.

By role, women accounted for 19% of writers, 21% of executive producers, 27% of producers, 23% of editors, and 5% of cinematographers working on the top 250 films.  

This year’s study tracked a number of additional roles. On the top 250 grossing films of 2019, women comprised 40% of music supervisors, 23% of production designers, 31% of art directors, 4% of special effects supervisors, and 6% of visual effects supervisors.

The “Celluloid Ceiling” report has tracked women’s employment on top grossing films for 22 years. It is the longest-running and most comprehensive study of women’s behind-the-scenes employment in film available. This year’s study monitored over 6,700 credits.  Since 1998, the study has tracked a total of more than 70,000 credits.