Women Continue to Be Shut Out of Hollywood
UCLA's 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report hit the streets this week and, while it found that minorities showed "small to modest gains" in the film and television industry, women actually regressed in some areas of employment in the business.
Says the report:
Compared to minorities, women enjoyed fewer gains in Hollywood employment since the previous report. They posted small gains in only two employment arenas (among film directors and the creators of broadcast scripted shows) and regressed in two others (among film writers and broadcast scripted leads).
Report co-author Darnell Hunt of UCLA’s Bunche Center for African American Studies says, "Among directors, women are the most underrepresented group."
Only 6.3 percent of film directors in 2013, the year examined here, were women, UCLA found. Women got 12.9 percent of writing credits, a decrease from 14.1 percent for the last diversity report.
CEOs and chairs of studios were found to be 94 percent white and 100 percent male. Senior studio management was found to be 92 percent white and 83 percent male.
Minorities saw small increases in representation compared with last year's diversity report.
While minorities now represent about 37 percent of the Unites States population (in Los Angeles, the home of this industry, nearly three out of four people are nonwhite), they got 16.7 percent of lead roles in 174 films examined for the study. That's better than the 15.1 percent figure reported in the last diversity report.
Minorities directed 17.8 percent of those films, compared with 12.2 percent from the last report.
In television, minorities captured 6.5 percent of the lead roles in major network scripted programs, which is up from the 5.1 percent figure posted in the last UCLA study. A big improvement came in cable programs, which saw 19.3 percent of lead roles go to nonwhite actors, versus 14.7 percent for the last study.
Women took 48.6 percent of scripted leads on broadcast television, down from 51.5 percent for the last accounting. On cable TV, that figure was 37.1 percent, almost the same as the last report's 37.2 percent, UCLA says.
The data from UCLA continue to show that diversity sells in film and television. Films with casts that were 21 to 30 percent nonwhite fared the best at the box office and earned a median take of $143.3 million, the scholars found.
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Broadcast TV shows with casts that were 41 to 50 percent nonwhite saw "peak" ratings, according to the report.
What can be done to diversify this intractable industry?
"It really will take interventions. ... There's no magic bullet," Hunt says. "There's enough blame to go around."
"We want to work with the industry," says report co-author Ana Christina Ramon, "to affect change."