Research from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University found that women directed a record high number of movies in 2020 compared to other years.
Variety reports the study found that women represented 16 percent of directors working on the 100 highest-grossing films in 2020, which is a legitimate increase from the 12 percent recorded representation in 2019 and a mere 8 percent in 2018. This representation is also impressive considering the major hit the film industry took during the pandemic. With movie theaters being forced to close, many major blockbuster films like Cate Shortland’s Black Widow was pushed into 2021, while others like Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman 1984 being included as one of the highest-profile films to release this past year.
“The good news is that we’ve now seen two consecutive years of growth for women who direct,” the center’s director, Dr. Martha Lauzen, said in a statement. “This breaks a recent historical pattern in which the numbers trend up one year and down the next. The bad news is that fully 80% of top films still do not have a woman at the helm.”
The study has been taking place for two decades now and has since expanded to include women’s employment on films included on the Digital Entertainment Group’s “Watched at Home Top 20 Chart." That included, women made up 19 percent of all directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the watched at home films, a number slightly lower than the 21 percent achieved on the top-grossing films.
Despite this positive trend, 67 percent of films hired between zero to four women in top behind-the-scenes roles, whereas more than 70 percent of the top films employed 10 or more men as directors, writers, and other top positions.