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There are fewer women employed in film production than there were in 1998

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The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University has released its annual “Celluloid Ceiling” report on employment numbers for the top-grossing 250 films, and the numbers aren’t great. Women made up 16 percent of the nearly 3,000 employees surveyed, which is down 2 percent from last year—and what's more, down 1 percent from the numbers in 1998. Essentially, it means there's been no discernable progress in increasing the numbers of women working in film over the past 16 years.

The findings line up with recent data from the Director’s Guild about the number of female television directors, and also include tracking for below-the-line and visual effects jobs. According to the report, the largest represented groups of women working in film are producers (25 percent), editors (17 percent), and production designers (23 percent), but they make up only 6 percent of directors, 4 percent of sound designers, and 3 percent of cinematographers.


According to the report, those females who are employed in film production are “most likely to work in drama, comedy, and documentary, and least likely to work in animation, sci-fi, and horror.” While box-office numbers continue to soar for movies with female leads—Gravity, Frozen, Catching Fire, etc.—the job numbers for women behind the scenes are still stagnant, and even backsliding in some cases.