Hollywood Gender Gap: Women Produced Just 19.8 Percent of Recent Films Despite Higher ROIs

Study of nearly 1,600 films released in the U.S. from 2010-15 finds women underrepresented in all facets of filmmaking

Slated graphic

A new study finds that women generated the highest investment returns on recent films they either produced, wrote or starred in, yet are still grossly underrepresented in those facets of the business.

Slated — an online company that connects filmmakers with investors — analyzed 1,591 feature films theatrically released on at least one screen in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015. Of those films, only 8.8 percent were directed by women, 13.2 percent were written by women, and 19.8 percent were produced by women.

Although women enjoy their greatest representation in acting roles, men still dominate when it comes to leading parts on film, with 70.6 percent of the movies analyzed featuring a male actor in the starring role.

Excepting directors, women generated the highest ROIs on films in which they were involved, but were given smaller budgets than their male counterparts.

Female writers were particularly disadvantaged: They received two-thirds of the budgets afforded male writers, even though their films produced the highest return on investment compared with male and female directors, producers and actors.

These new findings follow a 2015 study conducted by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University which found that women accounted for only one-third of speaking roles in all films released last year.

Actresses like Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Kerry Washington, Charlize Theron, Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep — to name a few — have also been vocal about gender inequality in Hollywood.

A November 2015 cover story from New York Times Magazine also highlighted the stories of female executives and filmmakers who have continued to face sexism in the entertainment industry.

“Films with women at the center are not a public service project,” Reese Witherspoon said at Glamour’s “Women of the Year” event last year. “They are a big-time, bottom line-enhancing, money-making commodity.”

The infographic released by Slated can be viewed in its entirety below.

Slated gender disparity infographic