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2005 Celluloid Ceiling Study
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The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women in the Top 250 Films of 2005

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Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., School of Communication, San Diego State University,
San Diego, CA 92182, 619.594.6301
Copyright © 2006 -- All rights reserved.
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In 2005, women comprised 17% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.  This is the same percentage of women employed in these roles in 1998.

Women accounted for 7% of directors in 2005.  This represents an increase of two percentage points over 2004.  However, this is less than the recent historical high of 11% recorded in 2000.

The following summary provides employment figures for behind-the-scenes women working on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2005.  It also provides a historical perspective on the employment of behind-the-scenes women, comparing 2005 figures with those from the last 8 years.

Findings
  • This study analyzed behind-the-scenes employment of 2,488 individuals working on the top 250 domestic grossing films (foreign films omitted) of 2005 with combined domestic box office grosses of approximately $8.3 billion.
  • Women comprised 17% of all executive producers, producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 grossing films of 2005.  This is the same percentage of women working in these roles in 1998 (see Figure 1).
  • Nineteen percent (19%) of the films released in 2005 employed no women directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, or editors.  Only one film (.5%) failed to employ a man in at least one of these roles.
  • A historical comparison of women’s employment on the top 250 films in 2005 and 1998 reveals that the percentages of women directors, writers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers have declined, whereas the percentage of women producers has increased (see Figure 2).
  • Women comprised 16% of all executive producers working on the top 250 films of 2005. Sixty four percent (64%) of the films had no female executive producers.  
  • Women accounted for 26% of all producers working on the top 250 films of 2005.  Thirty seven percent (37%) of the films had no female producers.
  • Women comprised 7% of all directors working on the top 250 films of 2005. Ninety three percent (93%) of the films had no female directors.
  • Women accounted for 11% of writers working on the top 250 films of 2005. Eighty four percent (84%) of the films had no female writers.
  • Women accounted for 16% of all editors working on the top 250 films of 2005.  Eighty one percent (81%) of the films had no female editors.
  • Women comprised 3% of all cinematographers working on the top 250 films of 2005. Ninety seven percent (97%) of the films had no female cinematographers.
  • By genre, women were most likely to work on documentaries and romantic comedies and least likely to work on horror, action, and animated features.  Women comprised 29% of individuals working on documentaries, followed by 27% on romantic comedies, 23% on romantic dramas, 20% on comedy/dramas, 19% on dramas, 14% on comedies and science fiction/fantasy features, 13% on action and animated features, and 8% on horror features.

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New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts
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