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Arts & Culture

Women See Minor Gains In Film Production Roles In 2020

Filmmaker Frances Causey walking with a ghost-like woman figure next to her.
Courtesy of Filmmakers Frances Causey and Sally Holst
Filmmaker Frances Causey walking with a ghost-like woman figure next to her.

The percentage of women working on major motion pictures inched up slightly in 2020, a San Diego State University group that studies female employment in film reported Saturday.

Overall, the percentage of women working behind the scenes on the industry's top 100 films (according to domestic box office gross) increased from 20% in 2019 to 21%, while their representation on the top 250 films rose from 21% to 23%, according to the Celluloid Ceiling report.

The percentage of female directors rose more significantly in 2020. Women comprised 18% of directors working on the top 250 grossing features in 2020, up from 13% in 2019 and 8% in 2018. Women accounted for 16% of directors working on the top 100 films, up from 12% in 2019 and 4% in 2018.


However, the majority of films (67%) in 2020 still employed 0 to 4 women in the roles considered, while 24% of films employed 5 to 9 women, and 9% employed 10 or more women. In contrast, 5% of films employed 0 to 4 men in the roles considered, 24% employed 5 to 9 men, and the remaining majority (71%) employed 10 or more men.

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"Taking a broader view, the imbalance in behind-the-scenes roles remains stunning," said Martha Lauzen, founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at SDSU, who created the annual report.

The jobs tracked by the study include directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers.

This year's study found that women fared best as producers (30%), followed by editors (22%), executive producers (21%), directors (18%), writers (17%), and cinematographers (6%).


The Celluloid Ceiling report has tracked female employment on the top U.S. films for 23 years. For more, see