Justice

Hollywood Sexists Might Finally Get What They Deserve

May 12th 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

A major player just stepped into the fight for gender inequality in the entertainment industry — and it isn't a Hollywood actress (or Matt McGorry).

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs are currently conducting an investigation into gender discrimination in the entertainment industry and its hiring practices, the Associated Press reported.

The lowdown.

The investigation answers a request issued by the ACLU last summer, which asked agencies at federal and state levels to look into whether the scant number of top movies and TV shows directed by women — 7 and 14 percent, respectively, according to the AP report — reflected gender discrimination.

"We're very encouraged by how seriously the government has taken this," attorney Melissa Goodman, director of the LGBT, Gender, and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California, told the Associated Press. "Our hope is that they'll push industry leaders to address the ongoing violations of civil rights women directors in the industry have experienced and are experiencing."

Gender inequality in the entertainment industry doesn't just impact actors and actresses.

Many celebrities have spoken out about Hollywood sexism and criticized the lack of substantial roles for women, as well as the industry's tendency to pay leading actresses less than their male co-stars. But women are also underrepresented behind the camera.

Recently, the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University looked at the top 250 grossing domestic films in 2015 and found that there were the same amount of female directors as there were in 1998, according to the Washington Post. One third of those films "employed either no women or just one woman on these teams of key behind-the-scene roles," the Post reported.

Films with at least one female director also featured more women in other roles. The study reported:

"•Films with at least one female director employed greater percentages of women working as writers, editors, and cinematographers than films with exclusively male directors.

"•On films with at least one female director, women comprised 53% of writers. On films with exclusively male directors, women accounted for 10% of writers (see Figure 6).

"•On films with at least one female director, women comprised 32% of editors. On films with exclusively male directors, women accounted for 19% of editors.

"•On films with at least one female director, women comprised 12% of cinematographers. On films with exclusively male directors, women accounted for 10% of cinematographers."

"People feel most comfortable working with those who look like they do," Martha Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University and the report's author told the Washington Post. "That's the unconscious bias that people are talking about so much these days."

To be continued...

While the investigation is a step forward, what comes next remains unclear.

"Goodman noted, however, that federal investigators are not bound by any timeline and are not obligated to reveal any results or take any action on their findings," the AP reported.

[h/t Jezebel]