Women in film held back by celluloid ceiling

Just 5% of top 250 US hits had female directors.

by Jennie Kermode

If you thought gender bias in Hollywood was a thing of the past, the laest figures released by the Celluloid Ceiling project at San Diego State University make shocking reading. Based on an analysis of the 250 highest grossing films released in the US in 2011, they show women dramatically under-represented in direction, production, cinematography and writing.

Although women make up slightly over half of cinema audiences, the report shows that what is being watched is overwhelmingly created by men. Consequently women's voices and women's stories may struggle to be heard. Only 25% of producers in the films it analysed are female, along with 20% of editors, 14% of writers and just 4% of cinematographers. Study author Martha M Lauzen expressed her concern that a lack of role models may discourage young women from entering film school or seriously pursuing careers in the industry. Directors including David Lynch and Robert Rodriguez have argued that women's creative input is still not getting taken seriously enough.

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