ACLU Cracks Down On Hollywood's Gender Bias
The American Civil Liberties Union annouced Tuesday that it is cracking down on discrimination against women by investigating hiring practices of major Hollywood studios, networks, and talent agencies.
Melissa Goodman, director of the L.G.B.T., Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the A.C.L.U. of Southern California spoke out on the matter:
“Women directors aren’t working on an even playing field and aren’t getting a fair opportunity to succeed,” she said. “Gender discrimination is illegal. And, really, Hollywood doesn’t get this free pass when it comes to civil rights and gender discrimination.”
This isn’t the first time these faulty practices have been a subject of controversy. During the 1960s, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held hearings about employment discrimination cases in Hollywood and requested that the Justice Department intervene, reports The New York Times.
The Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, along with several unions, reached a settlement. This included employment referrals for minorities, while women were not named specifically. According to the A.C.L.U., the enforcement of these measures eventually failed.
Currently, there are letters being sent to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Many anecdotes have implied gender stereotyping and clear bias. If agencies agree to investigate these claims, they may take actions that could lead to filing legal charges.
A study found that of the top-grossing 100 films from 2013 and 2014, only 1.9 percent of them were directed by females. Women directors are also contributing their own personal instances of gender discrimination. Some reports mentioned that producers have told agencies to send prospective jobs to women and being told at television job interviews that “we already hired a woman this season.”
Despite all of this negativity regarding unfair advantages for women in film and television, there are women who are taking a stand against it. Meryl Streep is funding a writing lab to champion for female writers over 40, while Lifetime Network’s announced a Broad Focus initiative committed to preparing women for roles in writing, directing, and producing.