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Why we need women in film working behind the scenes

Involving black directors and female writers completely changes what we see on screen

It's hardly a secret that Hollywood is a big (white) boy’s club. But here are some stone cold facts on the industry’s gender imbalance and how including black and female talent behind the scenes makes a huge difference to what we see in the cinemas.

A new study has proven that if a film even has just one female writer, the percentage of female characters on-screen goes from 26 per cent to 35 per cent. The research carried out by The Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative also looked into black representation in film. In a very similar vein, when a black director is present, 40.2 per cent of on-screen characters are black, rather than a measly 10.6 per cent when the director is not black.

Also, films with a female producer were less likely to depict female characters as sexual objects in sexually revealing clothing. We wonder why?

It’s quite staggering proof of why our mainstream cinema narratives are focused on white, male, straight characters. It’s evidence too of the importance of having diversity within the industry. 

As female director Sophie Hyde addressed, there is a very real discrimination against women in film, particularly when it comes to directing. The study addresses the obvious at its start: of the 779 directors who made films from 2007 to 2014, only a pathetic 1.9 per cent were women. Again, the bias leans towards white people, only eight per cent of directors surveyed in that time frame were people of colour.

Come on Hollywood, step up.