A new study suggests that female movie directors hire way more women into their productions than male directors do.
The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University found that for 2016 films with at least one female director, 64% of writers were women. When films had only male directors, 9% of writers were women. Films with at least one female director also had higher percentages of female editors, female cinematographers, and female composers.
Martha Lauzen, PhD, who led the study, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that in order to have a large enough sample size to learn anything about female directors’ hiring practices, she and her team crunched data from 2016’s top 500 highest-grossing films by Americans — as opposed to top 100 or top 250 — because there were simply too few women overall.
Lauzen wasn’t ready to definitively say that male directors hire fewer women behind the scenes than female directors, she wrote in an email. “However, logic would suggest that the director would be the individual (or one of the individuals) who has a great deal of influence regarding the selection of an editor or cinematographer on a film,” she said.
In 2016, 35% of the top 250 films had one woman or no women at all working in a major above-the-line leadership role behind the scenes.
Only 7% of directors on the top 250 films of 2016 were women. That’s slightly less than the percentage of female directors on top films in 1998.
3. Here are some things that have changed since 1998!
4. Ben Affleck’s face
5. The iMac
6. Bilingual education in California
1998: California rejects bilingual education. 2016: California approves bilingual education!
7. The food allergy we’re freaking out about
1998: MSG!!! 2016: Gluten!!!
8. But the percentage of female directors on the top 250 films?
Groan with me, will you?