Fewer women employed in film production than in 1998.

In 2013, just 16% of behind the scenes personnel – directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors and cinematographers – were women, according to the latest annual Celluloid Ceiling report issued by the Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

A study of the top 250 grossing films of last year revealed the lowest levels of women in film since 1998, when the first Celluloid Ceiling report was published.

“The film industry is in a state of gender inertia,” said Martha Lauzen, executive director of the centre.

“There is no evidence to suggest that women’s employment has improved in key behind-the-scenes roles over the last 16 years.”

None of the major job types saw a rise – other than cinematographers – with only producers holding steady at 25% (the biggest category for women).

Production designers and editors were the next largest percentage share for women, at 23% and 17%.

The 2,938 people surveyed for the project included directors, writers, cinematographers, exec producers, producers and editors. This year the categories were expanded to register production designers, VFX and SFX supervisors.


Job role20132012
Exec producers15%17%
Production designers23%n/a
Sound designers4%n/a
VFX supervisors5%n/a
Special effects supervisors2%n/a
Supervising sound editors9%n/a


Last year, the British Film Institute (BFI) reported a decline in the UK, with women writers falling 5.5% from 2011 to 2012. Although those numbers have since risen, the percentage of female writers remains low at 16.1% with directors even lower at 11.4%.

Referring to the hope that Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar win for The Hurt Locker in 2010 might herald a new era of gender balance, Lauzen added: “It was wishful thinking. Attitudes still remain a major stumbling block.”