Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

This is how female representation is rising across the film industry

A clapperboard and popcorn.

Female representation in the US movie industry stagnated in 2021. Image: Unsplash/GR Stocks

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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Education, Gender and Work

  • MeToo helped increase awareness of gender inequality in Hollywood, but the number of women working in the sector is rising very slowly.
  • Only 25% of behind-the-scenes roles on big US movies are held by women
  • And just 17% of directors and writers are female.
  • Female representation rose in only one area between 2020 and 2021 – executive producers.

Even though the MeToo movement sensitized a large audience to the lopsided power dynamics between the genders in Hollywood, the lack of representation of women in behind-the-scenes roles is not often cast into the limelight. As data from the Celluloid Ceiling study sponsored by San Diego State University shows, the percentage of women working as directors, writers, editors, producers and cinematographers on the 250 highest-grossing U.S. movies is only rising slowly. Still, only 25 percent of those roles were filled by women in 2021.


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Female producers and executive producers made up 36 and 26 percent, respectively, of all producers last year. Other important roles on movie sets feature even fewer women. In 2021, 22 percent of all editors were female, while the share of female directors and writers stood at 17 percent each. Female cinematographers are even rarer. Only six in 100 positions were filled by a woman last year. The number of female executive producers was the only one that rose significantly between 2020 and 2021, while for all other roles, female representation stagnated.

A diagram the percentage of women employed in major behind-the-scenes roles in the 250 highest grossing U.S. films
In 2021 females made up 32% of producers Image: Statista/Celluloid Ceiling Study by San Diego State University
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