Women In The Film Industry

Sunday, 3 July 2016

As a woman who is dreaming of being a part of one of the biggest and most difficult industries I feel like I need to address the gender bias that is still a major thing in the film industry. For me, this came to light when I came across an article about the difference in pay for the female and male actors in the film American Hustle, way back in 2014, and then it was highlighted again in Jack Howard's recent video with Jodie Foster.
I mean I already had a vague idea that there were more men in this industry but, after doing some research, I didn’t realise how major the difference actually was.


The info graphic above, from a New York Film Academy study in 2013, highlights just how drastic gender inequality still is. It astounds me how few women are employed across the production sector when we make up 50% of the world's population. Stereo typically women are thought of as the costume designers or the set dressers of the film industry but why aren't we being thought of as the directors or cinematographers when the roles are just as equally creative? Why are there not more female writers employed when male writers put the lack of female protagonists up to the fact that they can't relate?

Studies have shown that women are given far less dialogue in films because most of the stories are being told by men - Mushu had more dialogue than Mulan for crying out loud! Only 18% of women have two of the top three speaking parts in film in comparison to the 82% for men. In 2014, 80% of films didn't have any women credited as writers so maybe this finding is to be expected.

Something else that irritates me to no end is the fact that I could happily rattle off names of directors, some editors, producers etc but a majority of them would probably be male. Even when I was taking Media Studies at GCSE we were given a task of naming the director and every one of them were male - and this was from a female teacher! In my mind, from the teaching I have received so far, I have been taught that the elite category of directors all consists of males i.e Scorsese and Tarantino. But what most people don't know or think to find out is that both of them work(ed) with female Editors on many of their films.

The issue here is that behind the scene roles aren't often highlighted in the media or major award shows, there isn't as much of a celebrity stigma to the job. Now I'm not saying that there needs to be a celebrity status pinned to roles but they could empower more of the women in these roles in the media and teach more in schools about the range of jobs in the industry through female orientated workshops. Women in Science are using things like scholarships to encourage girls and they're in the film industry too, they just need more publicising!

My ramblings probably don't make a whole lot of sense to most people but Hazel Hayes' video in (sort of) response to Jack Howard's is something that I really identify with as well as this article by Megan Carpentier on the Guardian.