Has Hollywood solved its diversity problem? They're not even close, according to a new study

FP Staff

January 05, 2018 16:31:12 IST

Hollywood and its diversity, or rather the lack of it, has been a blazing issue for quite some time now. 2017 was a landmark year when it came to female directors. Patty Jenkins directed Wonder Woman — one of the highest-earning films at the box office — with major female characters. Female directors also gave some of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2017, like Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Dee Rees’ Mudbound.

But despite all of this, a study conducted by University of Southern California (USC) professor Stacy Smith has found that Hollywood is no more diverse than it was a decade ago.

Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins (left) with Gal Gadot (right)/Image from Twitter.

Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins (left) with Gal Gadot (right)/Image from Twitter.

The report titled Inclusion in the Director’s Chair?, which was released on Thursday, found that from 2007 to 2017, there was no measurable change in the number of major movies directed by women or people of color. Smith and her team examined the filmmakers behind the 100 top-grossing movies released in each of the years included in the study ― a total of 1,223 filmmakers and 1,100 movies. Only 4 percent of the directors were women, “a ratio of 22 males to every one female director,” according to the report.

The proportion of female directors who directed the year’s top 100 films ranged between 2 and 8 percent. According to the study, small, incremental changes do not represent “true progress”. Women and minority directors find it hard to progress as opposed to their white male counterparts. They have fewer opportunities to advance their careers, and find it difficult to move from a small project to a bigger one. Many female directors only directed one movie over the last decade, or even over their entire careers, which the study refers to as “the ‘one and done’ phenomenon.”

Results for people of color directing top movies over the last decade has been equally disappointing with only about 5 percent of the directors being black, and 3 percent Asian. Women and people of color are also absent from top executive roles in Hollywood which furthers the lack of opportunities available to them. Majority of the people responsible for hiring and fostering new talent are white men, according to the study.

The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow with her Oscar for the Best Director.

The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow with her Oscar for the Best Director/Image from YouTube.

When it comes to the Oscars, only four women have ever been nominated for the Best Director prize. The only woman to ever win the award is Kathryn Bigelow for 2009′s The Hurt Locker.

“Hollywood’s ‘female director problem’ has been the source of much dialogue over the past several years. The evidence reveals that despite the increased attention, there has been no change for women behind the camera,” Smith said. “Mere conversation is not the answer to these problems — and the time for conversation is up. Until major media companies take concrete steps to address the biases that impede hiring, nothing will change.”

You can read the full study here.

Updated Date: Jan 05, 2018 16:39 PM