• 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.

What's the World Economic Forum doing about the gender gap?

The World Economic Forum has been measuring gender gaps since 2006 in the annual Global Gender Gap Report.

The Global Gender Gap Report tracks progress towards closing gender gaps on a national level. To turn these insights into concrete action and national progress, we have developed the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators model for public private collaboration.

These accelerators have been convened in ten countries across three regions. Accelerators are established in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Panama in partnership with the InterAmerican Development Bank in Latin America and the Caribbean, Egypt and Jordan in the Middle East and North Africa, and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

All Country Accelerators, along with Knowledge Partner countries demonstrating global leadership in closing gender gaps, are part of a wider ecosystem, the Global Learning Network, that facilitates exchange of insights and experiences through the Forum’s platform.

In 2019 Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator. While more women than men are now enrolled in university, women represent only a little over a third of professional and technical workers in Egypt. Women who are in the workforce are also less likely to be paid the same as their male colleagues for equivalent work or to reach senior management roles.

In these countries CEOs and ministers are working together in a three-year time frame on policies that help to further close the economic gender gaps in their countries. This includes extended parental leave, subsidized childcare and removing unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion practices.

If you are a business in one of the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator countries you can join the local membership base.

If you are a business or government in a country where we currently do not have a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator you can reach out to us to explore opportunities for setting one up.

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