Leading figures in cinema are calling for steps to improve diversity in the industry as a damning study exposes the severe lack of women at all levels of film production over the past 20 years.
Figures seen by the Guardian have revealed that gender disparity is entrenched in the film industry, where more than three-quarters of the crew involved in making 2,000 of the biggest grossing films over the past 20 years have been men, while only 22% were women.
The report, compiled by the British producer and writer
The statistics, Follows decided, meant that he would "challenge anyone to read them and not feel that our industry has a problem with gender equality".
In particular, the report found a notable gender split in film-making departments. Women made up a majority only in costume and wardrobe departments and casting, all of which, traditionally, have been perceived as feminine workplaces. Visual effects, usually the largest department for big feature films, had an average of only 17.5% of women, while music had just 16%, and camera and electricals were, on average, 95% male.
Even in creative areas men were found to dominate. The 2,000 films surveyed revealed that women accounted for only 13% of the editors, 10% of the writers and just 5% of the directors.
Follows said he hoped the report would finally force the industry to accept gender as an issue and bring the problem to the fore. "It's terrifying. Every time I did a small bit of research I couldn't believe how unrepresentative the industry was, and honestly, when I first saw quite how big the divide was, how overwhelming it was, I went back and did my research again just to double check.
"I was completely shocked, but in particular I presumed things would be getting better. But that clearly isn't the case. It's not that I think the industry is institutionally sexist but I really don't think this has even been a conversation and so I would hope even being conscious of the gender split will begin to instigate change."
Follows said he hoped to follow up the report with an investigation into the reasons for the enduring gender inequality.
The report showed that the number of women working with blockbuster film crews in 2013 actually declined from previous years, to an average of just 21.8%. Fewer than 2% of the directors of the top 100 grossing films last year were female and only one had a woman to compose the score.
Thompson was echoed by the chair of the
Smith said: "In spite of efforts to achieve greater gender balance within the industry, especially in these busier times, the reality seems to be that it's getting worse not better. These statistics must propel industry and inform government policy to increase the pursuit of proper diversity in the workforce."
The three blockbuster films with the highest female contingent in the crew were revealed to be
Breaking it down by genre, the study by Follows found that musicals had the highest percentage of women in their crews (27%), while science fiction had the lowest, with an average of 20% per feature.
While the film Mean Girls, above, had a production team 42% female, the crew of On Deadly Ground, below, was 90% male
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