New Study Reveals Gender Inequality in Film Isn’t Just Onscreen

by Emma Pacchiana


This week the New York Film Academy blog released a study on gender inequality in the film industry, presenting some truly dire statistics about women both in front of and behind the camera. The data is drawn from the top 500 movies of the past five years and comes in the form of a series of infographics that showcase just how unbalanced the industry really is.

First there’s the familiar information: women are much more likely than men to be shown onscreen partially naked or in revealing clothing. Less than a third of speaking characters in movies are female, and only 10 percent of films feature a cast of half men and half women.



Then there are more really troubling statistics. Only 9 percent of American directors are women, and 15 percent of screenwriters are female. (The only female-directed movie in wide release so far this year was Carrie.) The highest paid actresses in Hollywood make half as much together as their male counterparts. Only one woman, Kathryn Bigelow, has ever won an Academy Award for directing, and four times more men than women were nominated for awards in last year’s ceremony. (No wonder – men make up over three-quarters of Academy voters).



The numbers have been getting better over the years, and the authors of the study try to keep things optimistic with a great list of up-and-coming female auteurs. Women also fare better in independent filmmaking, making up almost half of the directors in this year’s Sundance Festival. But overall, it’s a revealing look at just how much of a boys’ club the mainstream film industry still is – or, as I like to see it, proof that Clueless really is a more important film than The Godfather.


Thanks to New York Foundation for the Arts

Images via NYFA and Entertainment Weekly

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