Women Filmmakers Still Minority in Hollywood, Apparently a Problem

There are still far more men working behind the camera in Hollywood than women. Apparently that’s a problem. The Hollywood Reporter notes a new study which presents the would-be sobering statistics:

In 2015, women comprised just 19 percent of the filmmakers working behind-the screen on the top 250 domestic-grossing movies as directors, writers, producers, editors and cinematographers. That number — from a study sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Televison, San Diego State University, released today — was up slightly from 17 percent in 2014. But it hardly represented progress since it simply matched the 19 percent achieved in 2001, which represents the highest employment level for women filmmakers since the annual study began in 1998.

Despite that minor fluctuation, “This year it’s status quo,” says Martha M. Lauzen, who oversees the annual report, known as The Celluloid Ceiling, as executive director of the Center. Although the disparity in both pay and opportunities afforded women filmmakers has become a hot topic, Lauzen notes, “Now, the issue is getting a push from a cultural consciousness that supports diversity. But the numbers have yet to change. The film industry is a large industry and it takes a long time for change to occur.”

The unspoken premise seems to be that “progress” demands women hold a much larger share of these jobs, presumably half at least. But that presumes a lot. It presumes that enough women filmmakers, of suitable talent and determination, exist with the desire to hold such jobs.

By all means, if there are a bevy of women out there who can churn out better films than half the nonsense which makes it to the big screen, let’s get them signed to some projects. But the value which women filmmakers might provide doesn’t seem to be the operative concern here, so much as the mere goal of having them “better represented” in the industry.