the celluloid ceiling

The Rate of Women Working Behind the Scenes in Hollywood in 2016 Is Exactly the Same As 1998

Mira Nair on set of “Queen of Katwe.” Photo: Disney Productions

In every way but one, 1998 — the year of Shakespeare in Love, Spice World, and Saving Private Ryan — is in Hollywood’s distant past. What hasn’t changed: the rate of women’s employment behind the scenes. This year’s “Celluloid Ceiling” report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University determined that the number of women working behind the scenes in Hollywood in 2016 is exactly the same as the percentage of women working in 1998. The study found that only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the 250 top-grossing domestic films in 2016 were female. This is a 2 percent decline from 2015, putting the number even with 1998. Women fare best as producers — 24 percent — and worst as cinematographers (5 percent, however this number is a slight uptick from 1998’s numbers). By genre, women were most likely to work on documentaries or dramas, and least likely to work on action or horror movies. The lesson: Hire more women in all roles and for all movies.

Study Shows Decline in Female Directors