If you’ve been following Hollywood’s award ceremonies this season you might be struck by the lack of female representation on the list of nominees. This isn’t a new phenomenon, every year it’s the same story. In fact only one female director has ever won the coveted Best Director award at the Oscars, and no female has ever been nominated in the category for Cinematography. But perhaps the most disturbing thing is that the industry has seen virtually no growth in female representation for behind the scenes roles since 1998.

According to a study sponsored by San Diego State University, which tracks women’s employment in Hollywood’s top grossing films, 9 percent of film directors in 1998 were female, compared to only 7 percent in 2016.

In total, only 17 percent of behind the scenes positions went to women in 2016, the majority as producers and editors.

This would explain the lack of female representation in this year’s Oscar nominations. The long list of categories that only nominated men includes:

  • Best Director
  • Cinematography
  • Music (Original Song)
  • Production Design
  • Writing (Original Screenplay)
  • Visual Effects

The films being considered for Best Picture also had no female directors, and the films being considered for Best Foreign Picture only included one female director, Maren Ade for Tony Erdmann. It’s the same story with the Golden Globes– not one of the movies nominated for Best Motion Picture was directed by a female, and not a single woman was nominated for best director.


Lack of Opportunity

So what’s the deal with women in Hollywood? In this year’s Oscar Actresses Roundtable posted by The Hollywood Reporter, host Stephen Galloway asked the actresses if they felt there is a lack of roles for women in Hollywood.

Their response? Talk to the producers!!

I think Reese Witherspoon put it best in this 2016 interview when she said that there’s a double standard in Hollywood where men are given a second chance if they fail, whereas a woman might not work again if her first movie is a flop. So the actresses on THR’s roundtable are right. It’s about time we start holding producers to a higher level of gender equality when it comes to pay and opportunities.

In this blog, I will be discussing the role women play in the media and entertainment industry. I believe that we need to have an open discussion about how women are represented in the media, the opportunities that currently exist, and what needs to happen to in order for things to change.

I would also like to take the time to welcome you to reach out to me if you’d like to discuss the role of women in media, or have an experience you’d like to share.