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Ben Yennie: The (Not So) Changing Face of Gender in the Film Industry

The topic of diversity in the film industry (or lack thereof) has gotten a lot of press lately.  There’s ample reason for it, as there have been many studies pertaining to Hollywood’s diversity problem.  While we can’t address any of the racial issues in the film industry since we didn’t ask about race on our survey, we can add a lot of data to the issue of the Gender pay gap in independent film.   Let’s take a look at the data.

State of the Film Industry Part 4 - The Not so Changing Face of Gender from Ben Yennie

As you can see from slide 2, our study was comprised of a loosely 2-1 male/female ratio.  Keep that in mind as we dive down to analyze different sections of our data, as some of the sample sizes for women got a little too small to fully representative, but we are still providing a few hundred data points to the conversation.  While we did have a third gender option, it wasn’t widely used enough to really dive in and analyze.  There’s some excellent work being done by other people, including GLAAD, here's an example.

Slide 3 is rather dense but is meant to serve as an overview for this entire conversation.  To summarize the data, Women are slightly less likely to work full time than men in the film industry, only make about 69% of the money from filmmaking when compared to their male counterparts.  That being said, women have loosely the same household income.  Women have the same mean education level, although are significantly more likely to pursue graduate and post graduate degrees than their male counterparts.  Despite that, women still tend to work lower on the totem poll than men.  That said, the data regarding job types is less specific than we may have wanted.

As we can see from slide 4, Women do tend to spend less time on paid work than men, but even when you compare respondents who worked the same amount of time, women make between 15  and 30 percent less than men.

One of the Biggest take aways from these slides is that women are more than twice as likely to have graduate or post graduate degrees than men, but still make significantly less for the same amount of work.

On slide 4 we see, this problem is much worse for older women, with women aged 25-29 being among the most employed, and over 50 the least.  This could be due to several things.  One problem is that the widespread problem of sexism is less prevalent among millennial than it is among Generation X or Boomers. Another factor could be related to women being less likely to work as a director or higher level positions and thus leaving the industry.   

There are many other potential factors for women in the film industry being less employed as they get older, and most of the answers fall well beyond the scope of this study.  Even these reasons are more extrapolations than direct results of our findings.

On Slides 7 we see women are more likely to complete film school, and much more likely to attend a masters program than men are.  According to our Data Bachelors degree programs for Filmmakers are largely male, while masters skew female.

On slide 8, we see that a far higher percentage of women than men earn graduate and post graduate degrees.  Further, Women tend they tend to attend graduate level film schools.  As we look at the data, women gravitate towards a graduate level program at a higher instance than men, who strongly prefer bachelors programs for film school. A masters program seems to be the most popular option aside from the 4-year bachelors.

Slide 10, we see that the trend for women to be higher educated than men in the film industry remains true, with women of every age bracket having earned higher degrees on average than their male counterparts.

On Slide 12 we see that despite women’s higher education, men are still more employed.  There is a blip in the 25-29 age bracket where women are significantly more likely to be employed full time than men.  This is potentially due to a small sample size for this segmentation.

As we can see from slide 14, Women tend to be more likely to work as producers than men, but less likely to be paid as producers than men.  We also see that women are significantly less likely to direct than men, and even less likely to be paid to do so.  Further, Women are vastly underrepresented in the camera department, and only about 40% as likely to be paid as someone working in the camera department.

Women are more likely to be production workers on set than men. This could be due to lack of representation above the line and in the camera department.  Women less likely to work in post production than men, however, the gap isn’t as wide as we expected.

In summation, the gap between genders in the film industry is vast, with women being both under represented and under paid at most if not all levels of the industry.  We acknowledge that this finding is not surprising, but we hope that adding another set of data points to the mix can help to rectify this inexcusable problem.

In the meantime, check out the ProductionNext Beta!  What does it do?  a lot more than my word count limitations will let me go into, but this banner ad can help.  

If you want to read the other sections of this report, plus lots of bonus content, plus an entire standard survey export, check out the paperback version of this book on Amazon.  It's more than 110 full-color pages of data on the Film Industry.  Plus, for every copy sold, we donate a copy to a relevant educational institution.  Click the image below for mor information.

If you want to read the other web versions of this report, here's a table of contents.

Section 1: Overview/Key Metrics - 
Section 2: Economics of being a filmmaker - 
Section 3: Does Film School Matter -
Section 4: The (Not So) Changing Face of Gender in the Film Industry - (This Section)
Section 5: Do Romantic Relationships Correlate to Success in the Film Industry -
Section 6: Is Equipment a good investment for filmmakers? - 
Section 7: What makes for Economic Success in the Film Industry? - 


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