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Inequality in the Entertainment Industry: Startling Statistics

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

In order for women to be accurately portrayed through the roles and stories created for them, they need to be involved in the creation of those stories, characters, settings and experiences. Without the presence of women in places like the writers room, accurate portrayals of their experiences will not exist. The lack of women directors, writers, editors, producers, etc. shows how women’s stories are being created and produced, in majority, by a slew of men trying to capture the voice of a woman. This lack of proper representation leads to problems that cultivate our structurally sexist society.

An article by IndieWire shows “Women fared best as producers (26%), followed by editors (22%), executive producers (20%), writers (11%), directors (9%) and cinematographers (6%).” Overall, comprising “19% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 grossing films.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much better in television either, “A Directors Guild of America analysis of 2014–15 television episodes found that a mere 16 percent were directed by women” according to an article by The American Association of University Women.

The percentage of women are involved with the behind the scenes process is dismal, shedding light on the obvious mistakes being made when developing content in the first place. As a society, we rely heavily on popular culture, movies and television to capture what society is like at a certain periods in time or to capture how we as a society perceive the world around us. In order to properly convey what is going on in our society at this time, accurately representing half of the population is necessary.

For example, Lifetime movies, according to an article by The Huffington Post, are mostly directed and created by men despite the fact that they are mostly tailored towards a women’s audience, “Lifetime’s content is unquestionably targeted toward women, [yet] ironically it doesn’t seem like it is equally created by women,” it states, “A Lifetime representative told The Huffington Post that of the 17 films that Lifetime produced in 2012, [only] 28 percent were directed by women.”

We cannot continue to let women fall to the sidelines in the entertainment industry as that creates a world in which all of the content we consume is created by and produced by men. This results in a society that is being fed stories, narratives, characters and experiences about women that are written through the voice of a man and that just doesn’t add up.

This circles around to women looking to obtain on screen rolls. Because men mostly create the rolls, women face many problems when auditioning.

An article by TakePart.com outlines a Hollywood Reporter roundtable interview in which well-known actresses discussed some disheartening and quite disgusting instances of sexism in the industry. Stars like Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gina Rodriguez and Tracee Ellis Ross tell stories of needing to be dressed in club attire to obtain roles, being told they are not pretty or sexy enough or needing to “sex” it up in order to please the people hosting the audition.

According to an article by the Hollywood Reporter, in 2012, for example, “Women [represented] 28.8 percent of speaking characters in the top-grossing films.” This creates a nearly impossible dynamic for many women trying to obtain solid roles. Upon entering an audition, women are automatically limited to the 28 percent of available roles that have lines, and that leaves a lot unaccounted for.

This paired with the fact that women are constantly sexualized, makes it very hard for them to enter an audition room and be taken seriously as the talented artists that they are. Women need to be shown that being proud of themselves and their bodies is a good thing. They need to be shown that they can be in leadership positions and they need to be shown women doing it. To make this happen, they need to be a part of content creation so that other young girls and women out there can look onto these films and television shows and think, “someone who is like me did it, so I can do it too.”




Temple University Student | Journalism Major
Logan is a junior journalism major, and serves as Campus Correspondent.  She is also the proud president of Delta Phi Epsilon, Delta Nu, her sorority. Logan is typically super busy, but still dedicates hours to reading a Cosmo from front to back...twice. Logan loves all things social media, especially following puppy accounts on Instagram. Her dream is to break into the magazine industry and help empower other women to pursue their dreams, whatever that may be.