According to the latest study from Celluloid Ceiling, the longest-running and most comprehensive study of women’s employment in film, more films released this year were directed by women than ever before. The 23rd edition released on Saturday from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.
In 2020, Women comprised 18% of the filmmakers behind the top 250 domestic features. That’s a 5% increase from 13% in 2019 and a 10% increase from 8% in 2018. The increase was achieved even with many films being pushed to 2021 due to theater closures, including Chloé Zhao’s Eternals and Cate Shortland’s Black Widow.
However, the study also showed a disappointing lack of representation behind the scenes. 67% of the films released in 2020 employed zero to four women as directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors and cinematographers. 24% employed 5 to 9 women, and only 9% employed 10 or more. In comparison, 71% of films employed 10 or more men.
Women accounted for 23% of behind-the-scenes roles in the top 250 films of the year, only a 2% increase from 2019. In 1998, women comprised 17% of behind-the-scenes roles, meaning there’s only been a 6% increase in over two decades.
“This imbalance is stunning,” said Dr. Martha Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.