With Patty Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, and Regina King all releasing great blockbuster movies in recent years, women have made their names in the film industry. Despite these exploits, women are still vastly outnumbered by their male colleagues in the film industry.
According to a study carried out at the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at the University of San Diego, of the 100 highest-grossing films in 2020, women made up 16% of directors, a record. Women also held 28% of producer positions, 21% of executive producer positions, 18% of editors, 12% of screenwriters and 3% of directors of photography.
The Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts at UNL opened in 2019 and has been preparing students for careers in design, technology and film ever since. As his students tackle careers in the film industry, these statistics are stark reminders of their under-representation in the field.
Annie Wang said via email that she believes there is a lot more that can be done to increase the presence of women in the film industry.
“It’s a problem, and it’s really disheartening, especially for a woman of color looking to work in the film industry,” Wang said. “This is the reality. There are many systemic issues that prevent change from happening. Either way, I strongly want to contribute to positive change. Women deserve to make their dreams come true, to be who they are. aspire to be.
For women to be more recognized, film professionals are calling for change. Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts director Megan Elliott said she believes Hollywood should follow the steps of the National Football League. The league implemented the Rooney rule, which states that teams are required to interview under-represented candidates when hiring for head coach and senior operational positions.
“Many Hollywood executives have implicitly or explicitly prejudices against women as directors. There is cognitive dissonance. They just don’t equate women to leadership roles, ”Elliott said. “By making sure that leaders don’t just consider, but interview women for the role, they can then make things happen on their own terms.”
Wang said she thinks one of the reasons women have difficulty finding jobs in today’s society is lack of respect from the studios. Sometimes, she said, getting a job in the movie business just takes luck.
“Women are often not taken seriously in industry… In general, the industry is hard enough to break into. A lot of it is about having the right connections, being in the right place at the right time, ”said Wang.
Wang also said that many women face wage disparities in the industry and are almost always paid less than their male counterparts.
Since the pandemic, studios and moviegoers have been forced to change the way movie content is produced and watched. However, Elliott said she believes that while the pandemic allows more female-led films to be watched on streaming services, it might still be difficult for people to notice them. She suggested that streaming services create a category for female directors.
“We are in a golden age of content. We’ve never had access to such a monumental amount of high-quality content through streaming and video-on-demand services … However, the fact that there are so few female directors means their films are the smallest of minorities in the ocean of content out there, which makes them hard to find, ”Elliott said.
Elliott said she just hopes Hollywood changes for the better.
“What do I hope for the future of female directors in Hollywood? Let their stories be made, distributed, broadcast and seen, ”said Elliott. “I hope there will be more women making the 100 highest grossing films of the year. I hope they will win some prizes.