In the last century, women have gotten the right to vote, the right to have abortions, and the right for equal and fair employment. Even with all of that progress at home here in the United States, the BBC reports that the entertainment industry in the U.K. hasn't changed that much in the last 100 years. Using data from the British Film Industry's Filmography project, the BBC found that the number of women in films has only gone up 2% since 1913.
"In 1913, 26% of the cast in 53 films was female and of the 74 films made so far in 2017, the percentage is 28%," the BBC writes.
While the figure has gone up and down in-between 1913 and 2017, the highest it has ever been is 29% during a peak in the '90s. Back in the 1930s, the number dipped down to its lowest, ever, at just 23%.
The numbers may seem pretty dismal, but there is some good news. Filmography found that behind the cameras, women fare much better. The number of women working on the crew of films rose from 3% to 33% in the same roughly 100-year period.
"Jobs in the film industry have been gendered. Technical jobs have been aligned with masculinity. The predominant role for women was in administration and costume design," Dr. Vicky Ball, a lecturer at De Montfort University, told the BBC. "It's always good to have a diversity of voices, otherwise whose values are being represented?"
The project also found that only women only direct 4.5% of films and points to television as a more female-friendly place. Dame Angela Lansbury told the broadcaster that the new statistics are "unfortunate," but hopes that her work on Murder, She Wrote, when she played a woman holding a position normally held by men, helped show other female actors that they can carry a program. The BBC adds that the U.K. film industry is experiencing a boom this year. More films being are being produced annually than in years past, going all the way back to the '30s. Hopefully, that means that women are getting more opportunities on both sides of the camera.
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