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DGA study finds female directors helmed just 6.4 percent of films in 2013 and 2014

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=David James/Courtesy Everett Collection

A new report from the Directors Guild of America has confirmed what so many other studies have already revealed: Hollywood isn’t hiring female directors. The guild’s first report to study the diversity of its working members showed that of the 376 films released in 2013 and 2014, 82.4 percent of them were directed by Caucasian males and just 6.4 percent were directed by women. 

Minority female directors helmed just 1.3 percent of the films surveyed, the study found, while minority males made up 11.2 percent of that total.

“What this report does not reflect is what people who love film – even our culture as a whole – are missing when such a disproportionate percentage of films are directed by one gender or one ethnicity. Unfortunately, we don’t have a metric for that.” said DGA President Paris Barclay. “What you will see is what happens when industry employers – studios and production companies – do little to address this issue head on.”

The study also examined how many women and minorities were being hired to direct bigger-budgeted films by examining film’s box office against the director’s gender or race. The results reaffirmed that women face significant barriers to employment as directors of bigger-budgeted, wide-release projects. For films generating box office returns of more than $10 million, just 3.1 percent of them were women, as compared to smaller, more independent films with box office results from $250,000 to $10 million, 11.6 percent were women. The results weren’t as disparate when examined on basis of ethnicity. 

“The numbers paint a grim outlook for diverse film directors – women in particular,” said DGA Diversity Task Force Co-Chair Bethany Rooney. “Much like our recent reports on television director diversity, we hope this report will put a magnifying glass on a system that makes it disproportionately challenging for talented women and minority film directors to get hired.” 

The DGA has no authority over director hiring but hopes to improve the numbers by engaging more with the industry, negotiating with employers and offering more mentoring opportunities. You can see more results from the study here

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