The amazing lack of gender progress in Hollywood, Weinstein and not

With gender and Hollywood in the news because of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, I haven’t seen anyone count up the women who produced his movies. I counted off every tenth movie from his 300 or so producer credits on IMDB, and eyeballed their names (or images) for gender. The result: 23% of 373 producers were women.* (Some have a lot of producers, but if you use movies as the unit of analysis the average is also 23%.)

Here is the breakdown of these 30 movies, by decade:


Weinstein seems to be right in line with the industry on this. (With a range of 5 to 70 producers listed, none had more than 50% female producer teams.) Producer jobs are the most gender integrated of the major behind-the-scenes leadership positions in Hollywood movies, as reported by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. And, like the other major positions, in his movies and in general, there is zero movement toward gender integration in the last two decades.


In turn, Hollywood looks a lot like the economy in general, which also shows basically no progress on integrating women into leadership positions over the last two decades. Here is percent female among those employed in managerial occupations (using the IPUMS occ1990 coding scheme for consistency):


Putting women in top leadership positions is not a panacea for gender inequality. But for the sexual harassment situation I am quite sure it would help a lot. Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes may or may not have been an open secret in Hollywood, but the lack of women in positions across the industry, and the economy, is plain for all to see — and to act on, if they choose.

For other posts on movies, mostly having to do with gender, follow the movie tag.

* If someone wants to code all of his movies I’ll happily update this. Here’s the list I generated:

Year Men Women Percent Female
The Burning 1981 5 0 0.00
The Pope Must Diet 1991 7 1 0.13
Pulp Fiction 1994 6 1 0.14
Jane Eyre 1996 6 2 0.25
I’m Crazy About Iris Blond 1996 4 1 0.20
Cop Land 1997 8 2 0.20
Wide Awake 1998 6 2 0.25
Talk of Angels 1998 3 3 0.50
In Too Deep 1999 6 1 0.14
About Adam 2000 4 4 0.50
Backstage 2000 7 3 0.30
Mimic 2 2001 5 1 0.17
Heaven 2002 10 5 0.33
Chicago 2002 8 3 0.27
Bad Santa 2003 7 1 0.13
Finding Neverland 2004 6 3 0.33
The Brothers Grimm 2005 11 0 0.00
Scary Movie 4 2006 5 2 0.29
Death Proof 2007 6 4 0.40
The Great Debaters 2007 6 4 0.40
The Meerkats 2008 7 1 0.13
Halloween II 2009 10 1 0.09
The King’s Speech 2010 14 1 0.07
I Don’t Know How She Does It 2011 5 4 0.44
Escape from Planet Earth 2013 13 3 0.19
Lee Daniels’ The Butler 2013 31 10 0.24
Suite Francais 2014 8 4 0.33
Regression 2015 13 2 0.13
Wild Oats 2016 54 16 0.23
The Upside 2017 7 0 0.00
Total 288 85 0.23

4 thoughts on “The amazing lack of gender progress in Hollywood, Weinstein and not

  1. I’m sure the Weinstein company has hundreds of employees. Maybe thousands. Likewise for the other big Hollywood production companies, including of course what used to be called “the majors.” But there isn’t and never has been a sense that they are large companies that need to monitor their HR operations for accountability to nondiscrimination laws, or to any other standard of acceptable HR practice. Just like Wall St., especially before the big class action lawsuits shook things up. One thing that probably contributes to that mentality in film (besides patriacrhy) is (I assume) that for each film project a separate legal entity is set up. So the production company is run like dozens of separate project-based companies, each relying on short-term contracting. And, of course, nobody wants to sue “Hollywood” or “Wall Street” for fear of being blackballed. I was involved in the preliminary stages on some efforts to bring an age class action against Hollywood production companies, and the challenge was figuring out who you’d be suing, and how you’d identify an employment “practice” (and that was before Dukes v. Walmart, which ups the ante).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One other thought. There are other obvious areas where women more (or less) represented:

      -voiceovers for film trailers/ads – men. There is a select group of men who make a lot of
      money doing this. You want one of these 5 men for your film.I teach that in my seminar Women and Work and the students generally have not ^noticed^ it. Huh????

      – higher representation of women
      Casting, casting, casting (b/c women just know who would work well for certain characters. We are so observant b/c we’ve had to be. Takes soft people skills to know who is right for a role, and how people will respond to that actor in that role.

      – not as much as casting, but a decent rep of women in costuming. Nuf said.


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