What I am about to say is not going to make me any friends at the DGA, but it has to be said: The Guild is part of the problem, not the solution. Women directors’ underemployment is not all their fault, but boy, from the outside and from the stories I’ve heard, they are definitely not doing enough to help their female members.
If I were the DGA and I saw the abysmal numbers on women directors year after year, I would have embraced the ACLU letter that came out on Tuesday. I would have been the first one on the phone, calling them and setting up a meeting. Because the DGA is supposed to care. There are many, many female Guild members who can’t get work. I got an email the other day from a woman who was so excited to finally be in the Guild. I couldn’t help thinking, listening to her, that it doesn’t seem like being in the Guild is actually all that helpful to women directors.
Yes, they put successful women directors on the cover of their magazine. Yes, there are a few women having great success directing TV. But few is the key word here.
Needless to say, the DGA did not embrace the ACLU letter. In fact, they seem pissed by it. Ironically, their annual meeting was the night the ACLU letter came out. It was not mentioned during the meeting. Here’s the statement that was sent to me and other news outlets:
“The lack of network and studio action to hire more women and minority directors is deplorable. The DGA has been a long-standing advocate pressuring the industry to do the right thing, which is to change their hiring practices and hire more women and minority directors.
“The ACLU has made no effort to contact the DGA concerning the issues raised in its letters. The ACLU’s assertions reflect this lack of investigation as to the Guild, and ignore its efforts to combat discrimination against women directors and to promote the employment of women directors.
“There are few issues to which the DGA is more committed than improving employment opportunities for women and minority directors, it is time for change.”
It’s great that the DGA says that there is nothing more important to them than improving the employment figures for women and minority directors. But more than words, I’d like to see numbers — specifically stats that show me their commitment and their success in championing their underrepresented members, specifically women, because I am not seeing those anywhere.
This is not about territory. This is about action. The DGA should be a part of the solution, not the problem.