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Gender Inequality in Film: In Infographic Form

Gender Inequality in Film: In Infographic Form

Following the record-breaking opening of the female-led (although not female-directed) “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” last weekend, the New York Film Academy decided to take a closer look at women in film and what, if any advancements women are making in film both onscreen and behind-the-scenes– and create an infographic based on their findings.
Aside from a handful of notable standouts in the field (Lena Dunham, Kathleen Kennedy, Ava Duvernay and Diablo Cody), the news from the NYFA isn’t good (although, one recent encouraging sign: women directors outnumbered the men among the Independent Spirit AwardsBest First Feature and Best Documentary nominees. Women writers were also well represented in the Best Screenplay and Best First Screenplay — although no woman was nominated for Best Feature, Best Director, or Best International Film). 
According to the New York Film Academy blog:
After reviewing the data, it is clear that Hollywood remains stuck in its gender bias. Of course, it’s not all disparaging news and there are a number of female filmmakers, characters, and emerging talent challenging the status quo. In addition, in the independent sphere, women made up roughly half of the directors at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, yet still struggle when it comes to films receiving a wide release. By shedding light on gender inequality in film, we hope to start a discussion about what can be done to increase women’s exposure and power in big-budget films.
Check out their infographic below:

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Typical female is submissive, or subdued by patriarchal forces in society created to satisfy and amplify male roles in society. Number of women with authoritative voices are few, indeed, as if men are afraid of allowing them to be authentic. The rare case is more accidental, than intended in the roles molded for women. Isn’t America larger than that by now? Can we do better than the Salem witch trials, and Little House on the Prarie for women? There is such a wide range of female authenticity left out of cultural conditioning. No wonder women can’t find suitable mates. They have so few roles to choose considered legitimate for men to appreciate.

Jana Segal

Since, the conversation about gender inequality started, I have been doing research on how many female filmmakers there are. Actually, there are essentially equally amounts of female filmmakers in film school and this year there were equal amounts of women and men’s films shown at Sundance. I looked up what happens to the female winners at Sundance. I found that many (like Debra Granik of Winter’s Bone) had such a hard time getting their projects green-lighted (or getting money) that they either went on to make documentaries, shorts, or to direct for TV. I think women value balance in life, so they are less inclined to put up with this sexist environment. Female producers come off a little better, because they don’t have to be hired by men, they make their own opportunities. You can see the inequality in actors’ pay. Jennifer Lawrence, who had just earned an Academy Award, and starred in the huge hit, "The Hunger Games," was paid 7 points, while her male co-stars in "American Hustle" were paid 9 points. Why? She had more of a box office draw.


Remarkable that role models and modeling behaviors are critical focus in some areas but in other areas are considered archaic notions of no moment to modern society. Depends on what the political propaganda is apparently. At least the film critics are cognizant of the dramatic affect role models and cartoon and film agendas have on developing minds (propaganda ministries always did) and demand appropriate propaganda representations.

Jim Rustle



Bullshit. Men and women have the same opportunities to exel only women choose not to. That is the truth and has always been. If you are in a man's role where you work your ass off or perish, you too will learn to succeed. Quit whining "no fair". Since you are a statistics fan, how about count the number of men laboring in secondary and behind the scenes low pay functions in the film industry, ever counted that? No women only complain because they notice men higher than themselves, never even notice the countless of men working their ass off in lower positions.

Joe ...well then hell

just sitting here not giving a crap.


It goes top-down, and there are more men in high-paid positions to green light films and employees. We need more gender equality in leadership in Hollywood — which tells stories that highly affect how the rest of the country sees women. But, I am very happy to see this amount of women in film and hope the momentum continues. It's a start. And maybe, just maybe, we can open it up to more women over 40, too.

Bree Newsome

There's a gender gap in film for the same exact reason there's a gender gap in math & science, music production, politics and finance: it's an old boy's network. These professions are viewed as masculine and girls are generally socialized to not pursue them. Being a director or producer is like being a boss and being a boss is considered masculine. Being a DP is largely a technical position and technology is still considered the domain of men. As a black female coming through NYU film school, I never experienced any malicious or intentional exclusion but there's a social aspect to succeeding in film just as there is in many other fields. Much depends on who you know and who you're able to connect with. When you fit in, it's easier. When you don't, it's harder. But I'm hopeful things will improve with time as gender relations improve. I've had great experiences collaborating with men and people of various backgrounds on film projects.


Anything that involves making millions, doesn't care about gender.


It is impossible to be completely equal in absolutely everything.
I could complain that you have only highlighted 2 women of colour out of 9. Not only that, you haven't highlighted any Asian women at all! Does Hollywood think that the only thing Asian actors are good for are Kungfu? Should we lobby to get more Asians, Africans, Hispanics to have equal roles? And match at least one female to one male of every race and colour…Hang on…are all the different religions represented fairly? Surely in a fair movie we need a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Rastafarian, Sikh, and any others we've missed out…Oh wait…how about First Nations – Sioux, Inuit etc? Do we have enough represntation onscreen? And I forgot the Pagans and Wiccans too…we'd better have a male and a female of every race of every religion.

Sorry for being overly flippant…Life is about human equality…not gender inequality. I live in a Muslim country, where women are beaten by their husbands because they're allowed to, and where underage girls can be forced to marry. I think that's much more terrible than 'gender inequality' in Hollywood, in one of the most egalitarian countries in the world.


You do of course realize that the same infographic from 30 years ago would tell a drastically different story, don't you?

There are actually a lot of positives in it, and framing your story in order to get more women to enroll in your academy does all women a disservice.


You forgot to do the ratio of how many women die in film versus men. I'll save you the googling it's 200 men for every 1 woman.

This is Dumb

Top-Paid Male Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Channing Tatum, Hugh Jackman. Notice something about these "hunky" and "buff" men? Its women who shell out money by the hundreds of millions at the box office to watch a moron like Channing Tatum strut around shirtless! If you're looking to play the blame game, blame the consumers who dictate who is getting paid to be on the big screen! Acting like men are responsible for market demand… People don't understand why actors are cast, its all a business.


One thing these infographics don't take into account is WHY most filmmakers are men. Ever been to a film school, or seen the film studies program at a university? It's mostly men, because that's who applies. It's unfortunate, but it's true. I'd LOVE to see more women filmmakers, especially producers and directors. Women writers are definitely increasing, but if you look at the majority of schools the women just aren't there. So of course we get a lot of white male protagonists in movies, because you write what you know; if you're a white male, it's far more difficult to write about, say, a gay woman of color than it is to write about a white guy. It's the same complaint as the video game industry always using white men as their protagonists: Most game designers are, you guessed it, white men.

If you want more women in leading roles, encourage more women to get into the industry. It's as simple as that. Right now, they just aren't there. It has nothing to do with misogyny either; film schools are businesses first and foremost, and will accept anyone who pays their tuition as long as they can prove at least some minor modicum of talent. I do want to see more women in cinema, but that won't happen until more women make films.


Now wait a minute. Film is supposed to reflect the FILMMAKERS perspective on life, correct? Then why is it that when there is a film that depicts women nude, or a film that features the male having more speaking parts, why is it that this new age hipster-cry baby- 'everyone must be equal'- holier than thou- crowd wastes large segments of their life complaining about it?

If there are more male directors than female- which by all accounts there is according to this pointless waste of life info-graphic- then wouldn't it be totally obvious that there would be a significant difference in female and male speaking parts? Men mostly see the world differently than women, and vice versa. We take in life differently. As a guy, I can easily admit that when I see men and women at a pool party, I tend to divert my eyes toward the hot girl bending over by the pool side. So what? Sue me. Sure, there definitely should be more female directors in the medium, but who's to blame for that if not females themselves? Sure, there is perhaps a bias. But if someone's good they are good, and their work should show that- one would think. Good work gets noticed. Again, one would think.

A Man

The amount of misogynistic, self-righteous, arrogant man-child ignorance in these comments is absolutely appalling. I am so disgusted right now.


When i go out, in clubs, pubs, offices etc, i always see a higher percentage of men. I think it's normal to see the same in a movie. Regarding the percentage of naked women, i think that the problem is different: is more about making money that sexism.

Shoot the Critic

How about Nicole Holofcenter, Lynn Shelton, Dee Rees, Brit Marling, and Gina Prince-Blythewood? That's just in the States. In Argentina, some of the most popular directors are women.


How shocking. Another feminist bitching about an industry most people have been fine with for decades.

Instead of expecting everyone else to do the work for you, why not create a movie to combat these trends you hate so much yourself? Oh right, because it wouldn't make any money.


There are more men who pursue a career in Hollywood than women which is why these statistics are the way they are. Of course, I'm an Idiot, and I fail to see how men making films about men and only looking to reward/hire/work with other men who make films about men is a widespread cultural problem in and of itself.


This is ridiculous. Get over yourself


It's gonna be hard to write good movies in the future when you have to make sure everything is 50/50 all the time.


Good Heavens! Isn't it true that art depicts life? Well, it's been a man's world for as long as humans have been existence. So,… there you go.


The only thing that matters is talent


Oh yes, because everything needs to be exactly 50/50, right? This is stupid and childish.


Half the viewing audience is female. Obviously they want to see what's on the big screen, I don't see the problem here.

Goldman G0ldstein

Oh, but the gender income inequality favoring women in the porn or fashion industry will not be mentioned here right?


if you need a job try this site JOBS61 (dot)COM. Dan does it at home and makes $18.97 hourly just sitting and typing stuff all day…No experience needed


Pretty sure Megan Ellison needs to be somewhere at the top of this list.


Alex, if you believe that the Western world is a meritocracy in which men "just do better things", I would encourage you to read the "lowest difficulty setting" post. Straight white male is the best hand you can get dealt.


Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind ( has arguably THE strongest leading female of any movie. Unlike Merida from Brave, Nausicaä does not have the typical Disney "Princess complex", rebellious against tradition. Instead Nausicaä and her town is struggling to survive, and she will do anything to protect them, but also has intense curiosity about her world. Strong leading girls are also evident in Hayao Miyazaki's other works "My Neighbor Totoro", "Princess Mononoke", and the Oscar Winning "Spirited Away". Females also play a key part in "Porco Rosso", where the protagonist is a male, pig that is (a cursed man), but the 2 females are the ones who control most of the action. Another great writer is Rumiko Takahashi, most of her stories involve ladies as the central character, but the two above are not the only one from Japan who feature women and girls prominently.


Women in Hollywood are doing it wrong. All the movies they make are about their emotional travails. If we're going to beat the misogynistic suits that rule the industry, why not show them that we can make gender neutral, exciting, dare I say blockbuster-worthy movies that don't just pay attention to the dating problems and romantic hang-ups we're so familiar with. Make it appealing to men and women. This is why Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling and all those girls are just laughable, because it's all about them. Maybe that's why we just haven't nabbed the crown yet. We're not thinking enough about what people want to see. We're just thinking about ourselves.


Tradition is always difficult to break; additionally, the narratives being made to film are mostly taken or adapted from published literature which are mostly male-centric. Unless writers themselves deviate and actually produce original stories, we are still bound to see the prevalence of male roles.


Heck, and just pointing out as if it were a flaw that The Hunger Games isn't directed by a woman is in itself sexist and sad.


So tired of these inequality posts – not that they aren't correct, but definitely negatively biased. It points to a certain type of film (Hollywood) but appears to be speaking general. Also, when suggesting talented women actors/filmmakers in film, it always brings up the typical (sometimes incredibly banal) figures. Are the people making theses lists willfully ignorant to sell a point or do they actually care? My guess is linkbait (massive logo at the top).

Athina Rachel Tsengari, Kate Sheil, Lindsay Burdge, Adele Exarchopoulos, Aggeliki Papoulia, Ariane Labed, Chloe Sevigny, Josephine Decker, Melanie Laurent, etc.

Quality over quantity. Stop looking at the mainstream if you actually care about film. Society is the blame for inequality in top grossing films, not cinema.

Damien Fox

Marissa and Ronnie D are correct- Men versus women in acting or pursuing a career in acting is actually essentially the same as depicted, any drama class or acting school is anywhere from 2 to 1 even up to 4 or 5 to 1.

Unfortunately in relation to the amount of clothing women vs men are portrayed in- a) we as a society have driven home the idea that sex sells, and b) a huge stink is always made when men are depicted with less clothing.

I think the biggest example of this is how much outcry there was at 300, calling it a gratuitous beefcake movie among other things, and the more noise is made, the less is done.

If we want to reduce the number of instances women are portrayed as sexually appealing in very little clothing, then maybe more outcry is needed on top of everything else. At least I hope that's the case.


Until you look at the amount of men vs women who actually PURSUE any of these jobs, then this demographic holds no weight. Other statistics were off too. For example, in 2013 RDJ had the biggest income because Iron Man 3 came out, which was a huge success. (Not because he's male, but because people just love superheroes. Angelina Jolie on the other hand had a $33 million income and she didn't even have any movies come out that year. That was her income for being in Maleficent, which won't come out until 2014.

Ronnie D.

More men seek out careers in film, thus it makes sense that there are more men WORKING in film; just check out any film school and the ratios will be pretty close to the ones depicted in these charts.


This is beautifully done! I would also be interested to see the breakdown in terms of age– as in, the number of acting/speaking roles for men over 60 years old vs. the number of roles for women over 60.
Thanks for this.

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