The Producers Guild of America has admitted they are “shocked” by newly released statistics on women directors. The results show that women represent only 4.4% of the directors of the 100 biggest box office films of each year between 2002 and 2012.
The new findings, released by the Sundance Institute and Los Angeles-based Women in Film organization, reveal a certain hypocrisy in Hollywood, which is known for unflinching advocacy of gender equality. It is their foundation for a more aware and compassionate America.
The figures demonstrated that the bigger the budget, the less likely a film was to have a female director. British producer Alison Owen, who is in contention for an Oscar this year and one of three producers of Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, told Variety magazine she is not surprised by the male domination in Hollywood. She confessed that, at least when it comes to blockbusters, “It’s more difficult for female directors, but a little easier for producers and writers.” She implied that women are discriminated against in Hollywood due to their child rearing obligations. “In directing, it’s difficult to step off the ladder and have a few kids: people tend to be suspicious if you’ve been away too long.”
What speaks to this inequality more than any other statistic is that, of all the top 100 highest grossing films ever, only two have women directors: number 83, Phyllida Lloyd’s Mamma Mia! (2008), and number 68, Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011).
Ironically, Ellen DeGeneres, a fierce advocate for LGBT equality, is hosting the 2013 Academy Awards Show. Last year’s host, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, was not received well by some because of his sexist jokes, which included an opening song that outed actresses who had shown their breasts on screen.