Study: Number of women directing top Hollywood films declined in 2018

SAN DIEGO — The number of women working as directors on Hollywood’s top films declined in 2018, according to a report issued Thursday by San Diego State University.

The annual “Celluloid Ceiling” study found that the percentage of women working as directors on the top 250 films declined from 11 percent in 2017 to 8 percent in 2018. The percentages of women directors also declined on the top 100 and 500 films.

Overall, only 1 percent of films employed 10 or more women in key behind-the-scenes roles last year, according to the study. In contrast, 74 percent of films employed 10 or more men.

The numbers will likely come as a surprise to many industry observers after a year filled with predictions of large upward shifts for women working in film, said Martha M. Lauzen, executive director of the SDSU Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, which sponsors the report.

“Instead, we seem to be experiencing a pronounced and growing disconnect between the dialogue about women’s employment and the actual numbers,” she wrote in the report.

Women made up 20 percent of directors, producers and other critical positions on the top 250 grossing films in the United States last year, an increase of 2 percentage points from the year before, according to the study.

The report also found that women were most likely to work in the documentary and action genres, accounting for 33 percent and 27 percent of top positions, respectively. Women were least likely to work in the horror genre, accounting for 11 percent.

The study, now in its 21st year, did not examine foreign films or re- releases.

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