Gender Inequality in Film and the 8 Most Unsurprising Revelations From a Fresh Look

By  · Published on November 27th, 2013

Still not sure that even a creative field like filmmaking isn’t progressive enough to smash consistent chatter about something as nasty as gender inequality? Think again. Or, at least, take a peek at a visually appealing presentation that lays plain plenty of facts, numbers, and observations we might otherwise be ignoring.

The New York Film Academy has just put together a new look at gender inequality in film by way of a very snazzy infographic, and despite its easily digestible format, most of the numbers aren’t very easy to swallow. As the team at NYFA puts it, “it is clear that Hollywood remains stuck in its gender bias.” There is, however, some good news, especially when it comes to independent film, so here’s hoping that those eventually trickle up into big studio films and weren’t not stuck looking at this same infographic in a decade.

Check out the full infographic after the break (it’s a doozy ‐ get ready to scroll!), along with some observations about some of the unsurprising (yet still upsetting) revelations it contains.

1. In the top 500 films from 2007 to 2012, only 30.8% of speaking characters are actually women.

Take a listen the next time a popular film from the last five years (or, heck, even the last ten or twenty years) is pops up on your TV, tablet, or whatever. Make some notes, little hashmarks for each speaking role ‐ the results will shock you! Or not, because you’ve seen this statistic now. But still.

2. The percentage of teenage females depicted with some nudity has increased 35.2% from 2007 to 2012.

Two words ‐ Spring Breakers.

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

Get your hashmarks ready again, and observe the credits of your favorite film. If anything, you’ll be surprised this discrepancy isn’t larger.

4. The cinematography field is dominated by men ‐ for every 50 men who serve that role, only 1 woman does.

Quick ‐ name a female cinematographer.

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

Fine, we’re a bit surprised by this one. The only woman to earn more than another man was Angelina Jolie ‐ and she only beat Liam Neeson in this sample.

6. The median age of the top female earners is 34.8, while the median age of the top male earners is 46.5.

Hey, if Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, and Liam Neeson can all be action stars after age 50, why can’t women? Oh, wait, we need more female action stars, to start…

7. Only four women have ever been nominated for the Best Director Oscar, and only one has won.

You knew this one already, but let’s not forget it, okay?

8. 77% of Oscar voters are men.

Some form of this factoid is always mentioned come awards season, but it’s something that will take so long to change that it requires remembering. [New York Film Academy]