The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University produced a research report, titled “the Celluloid Ceiling,” which found that in 2021, women comprised 12 percent of directors on the top 100 most popular movies at the box office, a figure that is down from 16 percent in 2020, according to Variety.
“The percentage of women directing films actually declined in 2021,” Martha Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film and the report's author, said.
“Basing our perceptions of how women are faring on the well-deserved fortunes of just a few high-profile women can lead us to inaccurate conclusions about the state of women's employment,” Lauzen added. “Once again this year, more than 80% of films do not have a woman at the helm.”
Therefore, the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film's complaint appeared to be more with audiences of films with female directors, rather than the entertainment industry, as its research cited improvements in other areas.
Women filled 25 percent of key behind-the-scenes roles such as directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers on the top 250 grossing films in 2021, which was an increase from 23 percent in 2020, the report showed.
And when each individual role was drilled down, women also accounted for 26 percent of executive producers on the top grossing movies, which was up from 21 percent in 2020, and 32 percent of producers, an increase from 30 percent in 2020.
The research also showed that 17 percent of writers on the most popular films were women, which was the same percentage as 2020, and that the same held true for female editors (flat at 22 percent) and cinematographers (flat with 6 percent).