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Gender Inequality in Films [Infographic]

Author: Matthew Gates
Website: http://www.matthewgates.co/
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Gender equality in the workplace has been a struggle for women ever since they entered the workplace. A great example of a movie that portrays women in the workplace is 9 to 5 featuring Jane Fonda, Lilly Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Dabney Coleman. The movie is hilarious, but shows real life scenarios about what many women go through and have to deal with in the workplace, from competition of other women co-workers, to having supervisors and bosses steal their very ideas, to hitting a "glass ceiling" where they cannot seem to advance any further in their position, to outright dealing with a "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot perverted" boss. The majority of businesses are still largely dominated by men. One of the main areas still mostly ruled by men is Hollywood. From directors, producers, screenwriters, editors, executive producers, producers, and cinematographers, women are largely underrepresented in these fields. When it comes to awards, whether the Golden Globe Awards, the Academy Awards, the Oscars, the Emmy Awards, or anything else where women are nominated for Best Anything, women still struggle to achieve recognition for their hard work.

Are men the only ones to blame for women’s struggle in the film industry? When violence in film, which is often portrayed by men for men, becomes a Box Office Hit in Hollywood, it seems that society controls the favoritism towards men. There is also a need to portray almost all women as sexual beings in films worldwide. Since the 1940s, women have been more objectified as sex symbols. With each passing year and decade, more and more skin is revealed. While sex certainly sells and attracts audiences, this has become the acceptable way for women to portray themselves. This is definitely changing, with Melissa McCarthy, a woman comedian who defies the barriers of film and portrays her characters well, mostly relying on her comedy and personality, rather than her body. Women actresses also tend to make less than their male counterparts, despite age, experience, and number of films.

While Hollywood still has plenty of work to do in ensuring gender equality in films, films such as Charlie’s Angels, Bridesmaids, Miss CongenialityUnderworld, Identity Thief, The Heat, Brave, The Hunger Games, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Women, and other films portraying comedic talent and dramatic acting in which females are in leading roles and portrayed as heroes is certainly a great advancement of gender equality in film.

This infographic covers in detail the truth about gender inequality in films.

Gender Inequality in Films [Infographic]

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New York Film Academy Presents

Gender Inequality In Film

How Women Are Portrayed
=== On Screen in the Top 500 Films ===
2007 - 2012

30.8% of speaking characters are women

28.8% of women wore sexually revealing clothes as opposed to 7% of men

26.2% of women actors get partially naked while 9.4% of men do

10.7% of movies featured a balanced cast where half of the characters are female

2.25 : 1 Average ratio of male actors to female characters

Percentage of teenage females depicted with some nudity has increased 32.5% from 2007 to 2012

Roughly a third of female speaking characters are shown in sexually revealing attire or are partially naked

10.6% increase in female characters on screen observed when a woman is directing

8.7% increase when a female screenwriter is attached

Women purchase have of the movie tickets sold in the United States

Kathryn Bigelow
Director, Screenwriter, Producer

The only female director to ever win an Academy Award for 2008’s The Hurt Locker. Bigelow has been filling seats for over twenty years, scoring early success with 1991’s Point Break and continuing with last year’s Zero Dark Thirty.
Ava DuVernay
Director, Screenwriter, Marketer

The subject of some controversy earlier this year when the screenplay for her second directorial feature Middle of Nowhere failed to score an Oscar nomination. DuVernay made history as the first African-American female director to win best director award at the 2012 Sundance Festival.
Diablo Cody
Screenwriter, Director, Producer

Catapulting to fame and an Academy Award for her debut script Juno. Cody has remained a force in Hollywood over the past six years, diversifying her portfolio to include creating, producing, and writing the Showtime series, The United Stats of Tara, writing and producing the feature films Jennifer’s Body and Young Adult and making her directional debut with the film Paradise released this year.
Kathleen Kennedy

One of the most successful producers of all time. Kennedy has over 60 films under her belt, finding early success with Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. and her winning streak has continued with such notable films as the Jurassic Park Trilogy and the Sixth Sense. She was named as the new president of Lucas Films last year and is set to product Star Wars: Episode VII.
Lena Dunham
Director, Screenwriter, Actress

Following the release of her 2010 film Tiny Furniture, which she wrote and directed, Dunham’s profile was raised considerably with HBO picking up her original series Girls, which is set for a third season next January. She was the first woman to ever win a Director’s Guild award of her work on Girls.

There is a 5 : 1 ratio of men working on films to women

34.5% Documentaries
16.9% Narrative Films

Percentages of women employed behind the scenes on top 250 films by role



Executive Producers:




Percentages of women and men behind the scenes on top films of 2012

Directors: Women 9% | Men 91%
Writers: Women 15% | Men 85%
Executive Producers: Women 17% | Men 83%
Producers: Women 25% | Men 75%
Editors: Women 20% | Men 80%
Cinematographers: Women 2% | Men 98%

Forbes List of the Top Ten Highest Paid Actresses Made a Collective $181 million versus $465 million made by the Top Ten Male Actors.

In 2013, the highest paid female actor, Angelina Jolie, made $33 million, roughly the same amount as the two lowest-ranked men. Furthermore, age appears to be a dominant factor in an actress’s monetary success compared to men.

Of the 16 biggest paycheck earned by actors per film, not a single one was earned by a female actor.

Robert Downey Jr. (48): $75 million
Channing Tatum (33): $60 million
Hugh Jackman (45): $55 million
Mark Wahlberg (42): $52 million
Dwayne Johnson (41): $46 million
Leonardo DiCaprio (39): $39 million
Adam Sandler (47): $37 million
Tom Cruise (51): $35 million
Denzel Washington (58): $33 million
Angelina Jolie (38): $33 million
Liam Neeson (61): $32 million
Jennifer Lawrence (23): $26 million
Kristen Stewart (23): $22 million
Jennifer Aniston (44): $20 million
Emma Stone (25): $16 million
Charlize Theron (38): $15 million
Sandra Bullock (49): $14 milllion
Natalie Portman (32): $14 million
Mila Kunis (30): $11 million
Julia Roberts (46): $11 million

Katniss Everdeen
The Hunger Games
Age: 16
Traits: Honorable, Determined, Courageous, Cunning, Protective, Practical.

Lisabeth Salander
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Age: 25
Traits: Intelligent, Rebellious, Anti-Social, Photographic Memory, Persistent, Knowledgable

Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Age: 30s
Traits: Resilient, Romantic, Loyal, Trusting, Vengeful

Marjane Satrapi
Age: 10-22
Traits: Precocious, Aggressive, Over-Confident, Passionate, Survival Skills, Stubborn

Age: 16
Traits: Outgoing, Forceful, Headstrong, Willful, Fighter, Strong

1976: Luna Wertmüller
1994: Jane Campion
2004: Sofia Coppola
2010: Kathryn Begelow

In 2013, during the 85th Academy Awards, Across 19 Categories

Men Nominated: 140
Women Nominated: 35

There are no female nominees for directing, cinematography, film editing, writing (original screenplay), or music (original score).

In 85 years, only 7 women producers have won the Best Picture award, all as co-producers with men

Only 8 women have won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (in 73 years)

And 8 have won Best Adapted Screenplay in 85 years

77% of Oscar voters are male

Since 2000, the average age of the Best Actress winners has been 36 compared to 44 for men


Lake Bell
Age: 34
Occupation: Actress, Screenwriter, Director, Producer
Years Active: 2001 - Present
Notable Works: In A World (Actress, Producer, Director, Writer), How To Make It In America (Actress), A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (Actress)

Dee Rees
Age: 36
Occupation: Screenwriter, Director
Years Active: 2005 - Present
Notable Works: Pariah (Writer, Director), Inside Man (Script Supervisor), Martian Time Slip (Director, Forthcoming)

Sarah Polley
Age: 34
Years Active: 1985 - Present
Occupation: Actress, Director, Screenwriter
Notable Works: [Dawn of the Dead (Actress)], Go (Actress), Take This Waltz (Director, Writer, Producer), Stories We Tell (Writer, Director)

Jill Soloway
Age: 47
Occupation: Writer, Producer, Director, Comedian
Years Active: 1997 - Present
Notable Works: Six Feet Under (Producer, Writer), United States of Tara (Showrunner, Executive Producer, Runner), Afternoon Delight (Writer, Director)

While there is no question that Hollywood has a long way to go in removing the many stereotypes and hurdles faced by actresses and female filmmakers, the recent blockbuster successes of female-led films such as Bridesmaids and The Heat along with a 4% increase in the number of women directors responsible for the top 250-grossing movies in 2012 (9% compared to 5% in 2011), do offer hope that more Hollywood films will showcase women in more ative, less sexualized roles. However, so far in 2013, only one film directed by a woman has received wide release (Carrie). There is certainly much more work to be done.


Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.

As a personal note: Matthew Gates is not a feminist.  He believes in equal rights and equal opportunity for all human beings.

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  • Gender equality in the workplace has been a struggle for women ever since they entered the workplace.
  • One of the main areas still mostly ruled by men is Hollywood.
  • From directors, producers, screenwriters, editors, executive producers, producers, and cinematographers, women are largely underrepresented in these fields.
  • When it comes to awards, women still struggle to be recognized for their hard work.
  • Films in which women portray leading roles as heroes and comedic talent and dramatic acting are certainly an advancement of gender equality in film.