The Brutal Math Of Gender Inequality In Hollywood

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All three descriptors apply to the movie business. First, men clearly outnumber women four-to-one among producers, directors, cinematographers, writers, and key assistants. Second, every movie or miniseries is essentially a miniature start-up, where predators and jerks can abuse or harass actors and assistants knowing they might never have to work them again after a three-month shoot.

Finally, actresses are vulnerable, not only because men dominate powerful occupations, but also because women are cast to portray the very quality of vulnerability. In my book, I reported on a study by the Geena Davis Foundation that analyzed speaking roles in 120 popular films released between 2010 and 2013 for demographics, sexualization, occupation, and career. Just 23 percent of these films had a girl or woman as a main character. The ratio of men to women portrayed at the highest levels of local or national government authority was 115-to-12 (and three of the 12 female roles were portrayals of one person: Margaret Thatcher). Meanwhile, girls and women were twice as likely as boys and men to be shown in sexually revealing clothing, and five times more likely to be called out for being attractive. If these movies collectively formed a single nation, women in this world would account for less than one-third of the workforce and two-thirds of its sex workers.

Altogether, these surveys and studies suggest something quite simple: The ratio of women in an industry (like film) or in an occupation within that industry (like directing) shapes how women are treated. While more than 80 percent of women say they have been harassed at work, they are 50 percent more likely to say so in male-dominated industries.

In Hollywood, as in media or any industry dominated by powerful men, it is important yet insufficient to name, shame, and expel the worst offenders. More fundamentally, it is critical to address the sheer number of women who work in the industry in positions of authority. Black dresses and pins get people talking. But in the end, it’ll be the math that matters.

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Source : https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/01/the-brutal-math-of-gender-inequality-in-hollywood/550232/

The Brutal Math of Gender Inequality in Hollywood
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