Women, Non-White Directors Show No Gains in Last Year’s Top 100 Grossing Movies, USC Study Finds

Ninety-six percent of biggest films made since 2007 were directed by men, survey shows

There has been no discernible increase in the number of movies made by female, Black, or Asian directors in the past decade, a new study made by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California shows.

The study spanned the past 11 years, covering data on the gender, race, and age of 1,223 filmmakers working on 1,100 top-grossing films released between 2007 and 2017. The findings? Ninety-six percent of all movies from the past decade were made by men, with only four from black female directors, two by Asian women, and one by a Latina. In addition, 84 percent of female directors ended up making only one film, compared to 55 percent for men.

(USC Annenberg)

Even when men are included in the tally of minority directors, the statistics still don’t look good for diversity. Only 5.2 percent of movies surveyed were directed by African-Americans and 3.2 percent were directed by Asians, with no meaningful year-to-year change being seen for either demographic.

(USC Annenberg)

The analysis also focused on women in executive and leadership ranks at major media companies. On the producer side, underrepresentation can also be seen, though findings are a bit more encouraging. Women only held an estimated 18 percent of C-Suite jobs and Board of Director chairs in Hollywood, and only two of the executive film teams were chaired by women. However, women hold 41 percent of all vice president jobs at Hollywood studios.

“Hollywood’s ‘female director problem’ has been the source of much dialogue over the past several years. The evidence reveals that despite the increased attention, there has been no change for women behind the camera,” said USC Annenberg professor Stacy L. Smith. “Mere conversation is not the answer to these problems–and the time for conversation is up. Until major media companies take concrete steps to address the biases that impede hiring, nothing will change.”

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