Patricia Arquette caused quite a stir at the Oscars this year with her acceptance speech. She suggested that inequality was still an issue in today’s Hollywood.
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It is our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”
With films series like Hunger Games and Divergent, strong female leads have performed very well. The latest two films in the respective series have a combined box office total of almost $1 billion. Despite these insane numbers, a recent study on gender inequality suggests inequality still exists in film.
Men enjoy more of the overall jobs in Hollywood, today. In fact, there are five times as many men working on films. On average, there is a little over a two to one ratio on the acting side of the business. Behind the scenes is where gender inequality really stands out as being very lopsided.
Some of the industries most popular producers are female. They have been entrusted with some of the most iconic films of the last fifty years. Kathleen Kennedy has produced notable titles like Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Jurassic Park, and The Sixth Sense. In December, she will add Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens to her portfolio. If producing is not enough to make one start asking questions about inequality, what about directing? Kathryn Bigelow, the only woman to ever win best director, has produced critically acclaimed work like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.
One area where it is very easy to measure inequality is dollars earned. Forbes listed the highest paid male actors and the highest paid female actors. The numbers between the two are astonishing, to say the least. In 2013, the top 10 highest paid men totaled $465 million. By contrast, the top 10 female actors were paid a total of $181 million.
Gender inequality does not just exist in the jobs and salaries. Unfortunately, inequality still exists on the types of roles female actors are asked to play.
The graphic above is one of the most telling stats when it comes to inequality. It is basically saying that 30 percent of all female roles require a woman to either wear revealing clothes or be partially naked. When looking at parts played by males, it is easy to see that gender matters when casting characters.
Gender inequality is a hot topic in employment in general. Hollywood still seems to be just a microcosm of society despite its best efforts to break free. What are some of the ways you think Hollywood or society can start to combat these inequality issues?