Kathryn Bigelow Speaks Out Against Hollywood Gender Discrimination: ‘Change Is Essential’

“Zero Dark Thirty” director voices her support for the ACLU’s announcement that it is targeting discriminatory practices against female directors

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Director Kathryn Bigelow attends the 86th Annual Academy Awards - Oscar Foreign Language Reception at LACMA on February 28, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
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Kathryn Bigelow is among the prominent female filmmakers showing their support of the American Civil Liberties Union’s stand against gender discrimination in Hollywood.

“I have always firmly believed that every director should be judged solely by their work, and not by their work based on their gender,” Bigelow said in a statement to Time on Tuesday.

The “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Hurt Locker” director was referring to the ACLU announcement that it will ask state and federal agencies to investigate Hollywood studios, networks and talent agencies, and possibly charge them, over what the organization describes as “rampant and intentional gender  discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors,” according to the New York Times.

“Hollywood is supposedly a community of forward thinking and progressive people yet this horrific situation for women directors persists,” said Bigelow, who became the became the first woman to win the Academy Award for directing in 2010.

“Gender discrimination stigmatizes our entire industry. Change is essential. Gender neutral hiring is essential.”

The ACLU has detailed statistical and anecdotal evidence of “overt sex stereotyping and implicit bias” in letters sent to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

“Real change is needed to address this entrenched and long-running problem of discrimination against women directors,” one of the letters reads. “External investigations and oversight by government entities tasked with enforcing civil rights laws is necessary to effectuate this change.”

The New York Times story on the ACLU cited a study that was commissioned by Women in Film and the Sundance Institute, and authored by Stacy Smith.

 “Women In Film is proud that the research we commissioned with the Sundance Institute (Exploring the Careers of Female Filmmakers Phase III, Stacy L. Smith, USC) has provided a statistical foundation to the ACLU in addressing systemic failure to hire women directors in the film and television industry,” Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of WIF said in a statement to TheWrap.