10.6 Percent of 2019’s Top 100 Movies Directed by Women, Marking 13-Year High With Much Room for Growth

Researchers say this is a "banner year," but much remains to be done.


Image via Getty/Credit: Gabriel Martinez / EyeEm


A new research brief from Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative shows that 10.6 percent of the directors of the top movies of 2019 are women. 

Our newest study is out today with good news for female directors. There’s still need for improvement but 2019 was a 13-year high for women working behind the camera in top-grossing films. #ascj pic.twitter.com/jKABXmKEDC

— Annenberg Inclusion Initiative (@Inclusionists) January 2, 2020

As detailed in a Deadline report on the research published earlier this week, that figure marks the highest percentage of women in that category in 13 years, though it should be noted that the number itself should indeed still be vastly higher. Dr. Smith pointed out that this also marks the first time a detectable shift in hiring practices for women has been observed. She specifically mentioned Universal, who had five movies directed by women among the top 100 of the year.

Stacy Smith and @USCAnnenberg are here with the numbers.
2019 was the highest number of women directors in 13 years.
WOC still under 1%

Tuning into awards shows? Only 5% of directing nominees over the last 13 years were women, according to a new report from @Inclusionists. pic.twitter.com/N3ZItKhJmc

— Alma Har'el🌪 עלמה (@Almaharel) January 2, 2020

Dr. Smith also highlighted the slight drop in the percentage of women of color among the field of top movie directors, adding that four women of color directed one of the top 100 movies in 2019. The underrepresented directors stat for the year was 16.8 percecnt. 2018's percentage, meanwhile, was 21.4.

"While 2019 is a banner year for women, we will not be able to say there is true change until all women have access and opportunity to work at this level," Dr. Smith said.

" 273 nominations were given out across the 4 top award shows over 13 years. 94.9% male directors, 5.1% female directors.
All of these nominations went to 4 women (Angelina Jolie, Ava DuVernay, Kathryn Bigelow, Greta Gerwig). Only 1 director was a woman of color (Ava DuVernay). pic.twitter.com/UKokaMk18O

— Melissa Silverstein (@melsil) January 2, 2020

All told, 70 out of 1,448 directors were women in the 1,300 surveyed movies. For the full rundown, including stats on Metacritic and more, click here.

Latest in Pop Culture