These Stats About Female Directors Are Seriously Infuriating

Photo: Mandatory Credit - A.M.P.A.S./REX Shutterstock.
Last year, high-profile actresses from Meryl Streep to Patricia Arquette stepped up and urged Hollywood to do better by women. Their voices rang out for more female screenwriters, more female critics, more female directors, and more equality overall. A chorus of many others called out for similar change.

While it may seem as though Hollywood has made some headway when it comes to balancing the gender ledger, there's still a depressingly long way to go. Despite the fact that two female directors — Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2) and Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) — achieved box-office hits in 2015, their success is still the exception, not the rule.

According to a new report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, women made up only 9% of directors among the top 250 domestic grossing films; they comprised just 12% of directors among the top 500. Variety points out that this is a mere 2% increase over the statistics for 2014. Add to that the fact that the 2015 figures are on par with the female director stats from 1998, and you've got yourself a pretty dispiriting picture of how far we haven't come.

Directing isn't the only dark spot for women, either. The report shows that women represented just 11% of writers in 2015, 20% of executive producers, 26% of producers, 22% of editors, and 6% of cinematographers. Women fared slightly better across each category than they did in 2014 — which may be the source of an intra-industry butterfly effect. It turns out that when women are in key positions on film sets, the representation of women is better overall than if men are leading the show.

"It takes a long time for big industries to change their behavior,” explained Dr. Martha Lauzen, the executive director of San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television, as well as the author of the study, Variety reports. "It would be unrealistic to expect that attitudes about women as directors to change over night, but nothing in this data suggests that change is on the horizon."

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