Looking For Evidence Why We Need More Female Directors? This Is It…


It’s no secret that women are not on equal footing with men in Hollywood, and in the film industry worldwide. But there are great strides being made, albeit it slow. It is 2014 people! Why are we still talking about this?!?!

While it pains us that the gender disparity still exists, talking about it is the only way to share information and allow men and women to realize how crucial it is that we all work together to change the status quo.

Earlier this year film industry blog Women and Hollywood compiled an infographic detailing the abysmal percentage of females who directed feature films from major studios between 2009-2013.

What they found was less than 5% of major feature films were directed by women. It’s depressing, we know. Here’s another fact you may not be familiar with, in the last 84 years, only 4 women have been nominated for the Best Director awards at the Oscars. They are Sofia Coppola for ‘Lost in Translation’ (2003), Italian director Lina Wertmuller for ‘Seven Beauties’ (1976), New Zealander Jane Campion for ‘The Piano’ (1993), Sofia Coppola for ‘Lost in Translation’ (2003), and Kathryn Bigelow for ‘The Hurt Locker’ (2009).

Sofia Coppola is the first American woman nominated for Best Director and only the third woman ever to be nominated for the award. And of course a fact we are mostly all familiar with, Kathryn Bigelow remains the only female to actually win the Best Director award.

For the most part, these were all pretty major films. But what about women in the world of independent movies? According to a new infographic by Women and Hollywood, women fare a tad better in this area. Here’s how they got the results:

“We looked at the 300 top-grossing films of every year from 2009 to 2013, based on Box Office Mojo and IMDb. We removed the┬ástudio pics, documentaries, re-releases, and other miscellaneous releases. The numbers include foreign films released in the US.”


What they found was that 10% of the indie flicks between 2009-2013 were directed or co-directed by women, meaning 90 out of 879 directors total. There were some familiar names in the list of women included in the infographic. Kathryn Bigelow, Drew Barrymore, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, Jodie Foster, Lena Dunham, Jill Soloway and Sofia Coppola to name just a handful.

W&H remarks that while the results are a little bit more positive, we still have a long way to go. Perhaps it is an indicator that women feel more able to progress in in the world of indie films. What are the major barriers for women director major motion pictures with the big studios backing them? Well when you think about how indie films are made these days (crowd-funding, independent backing, smaller production companies, smaller distribution) you can see how it is easier to get their foot in the door and find avenues to share their talent.

In theory there should be no difference, if talent is talent regardless of whether it is shown in an indie setting or a mainstream one. But when you have added barriers of corporations, advertising, and old ways of running an industry largely still dominated by men, it becomes harder to break through. The good news is the cracks are widening and women should not give up.

There are countless celebrities urging women to write, direct, produce and create their own opportunities. While the indie route shouldn’t be seen as the only viable method for women to break through in Hollywood, at least it exists. These days it is more likely that an indie film can be a huge success worldwide thanks to additional distribution channels online and on platforms such as Amazon, Netflix and the like.

To all aspiring female directors, do not give up. Don’t allow the statistics below to be a point of depression and force you to give up. Let it be a motivation to capitalize on the gains already made so that more and more women can climb to the top of the ladder. If one woman gives us, we all lose.





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