Hollywood may be sued due to the lack of women film directors

Mike P Williams

Issues in Hollywood range largely between race and gender, and it seems the latter could be about to challenged with discrimination laws.

Wonder Woman reaches for her blade - Credit: Warner Bros.
Wonder Woman reaches for her blade – Credit: Warner Bros.

There’s no denying that the American film industry seems to be heavily populated by a specific gender and ethnicity of person, resulting in an outcry when, as per the Oscars 2016, it was dominated by white nominees and had virtually no other skin colour or ethnicity represented.

Similarly, we often see award ceremonies contested largely by men, meaning that when a women director does gain recognition and win awards, people stand up and take note. But it shouldn’t have to be that way. We shouldn’t be conditioned to be amazed when, low and behold, a woman makes her mark on the film industry, but sadly there’s an obvious, unequal ratio of men to women who are working film directors.

According to Deadline, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has concluded that Hollywood is guilty in discrimination against female directors, and plan to take action.

The process began in October of 2015 and are apparently in developed stages of settlements with some of the biggest movie studios on the planet.

Without naming actual studios so far, a source claims that all the well known ones are in trouble for said discrimination. “Every one of the major studios has received a charge contending that they failed to hire women directors,” they said. “The EEOC is attempting to resolve the charges but, if unable to, may file a lawsuit.”

It’d be interesting if a lawsuit is eventually filed because then, and only then, will the studios be named and shamed. Until that point they remain unnamed due to the legality of non-disclosure and out of court settlements being discussed.

On the notion of proving gender discrimination and the processes of taking action, the EEOC said on their website that “If a violation is found, we will attempt to reach a voluntary settlement with the employer. If we cannot reach a settlement, your case will be referred to our legal staff – or the Department of Justice in certain cases – who will decide whether or not the agency should file a lawsuit.”

While women directors have, at various points over the years, been noted and lauded for their works, the dominance of male helmers remains an issue of fierce debate.

Credit: Voltage Pictures
Credit: Voltage Pictures

According to statistics, a measly 7% of women directed 2016’s movie output, which was down a few percent on the previous year.

Over the years, there have been a number of talented women film directors that have made their mark on Hollywood.

In recent times, Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘The Hurt Locker’ surprised a lot of people by sweeping up at the 2010 Oscars, taking home six – including Best Picture, Directing, and Screenplay.

Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-winning ‘Lost in Translation’ affirmed her as a director to watch and has since made a number of acclaimed titles.

Ava DuVernay’s another important helmer, responsible for ‘Middle of Nowhere’, ‘Selma’, and recent Oscar-nominated documentary ’13th’.

However, the female director on a lot of people’s minds is Patty Jenkins, who is currently working on Warner Bros.’s ‘Wonder Woman’. There’s clearly pressure for her to make a solid movie to allow DC to catch up to Marvel, and there’s not long to wait until we find out.

It’s important to be aware of the contributions both men and women have in the lucrative industry that is cinema. But with one side appearing to have the upper hand, it’s even more vital to embrace and celebrate the less prominent, yet equally valid voice too.

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