The Feds Are Taking On Hollywood's Huge Sexism Problem
Hollywood has a serious gender problem. But, it would seem, something is finally being done about it. The ACLU announced Wednesday that the federal government is investigating its claims that gender discrimination runs rampant in the industry. Two agencies are looking to determine whether Hollywood's practices are fair.
Both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs have responded to the ACLU's request — filed a year ago — that officials to dig into the "blatant and rampant discrimination against women directors in the film and television industries," according to a statement released by the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project.
The ACLU filed its request after an investigation into the industry uncovered "an industry-wide pattern of gender bias and stereotyping that all but excluded women from directorial roles," according to the statement.
The numbers are bad — really bad. Women directed less than seven percent of the top movies and about 14 percent of television shows last year, according to the Associated Press. What's more, only one female director, Kathryn Bigelow, has ever won an Academy Award for her directorial role. She was the fourth woman to have ever been nominated for the award, and none have been nominated since.
So far, the federal investigation has included meetings with directors and Hollywood stakeholders, according to the Associated Press. But there's no sense of how long the investigation could stretch on — and, according to the ACLU, the federal government won't be required to reveal its findings or take any action based on the results. Talk about uninspiring.
Yet, despite that dour caveat, the ACLU remains hopeful the investigation could lead to changes in Hollywood and greater inclusion of women in all roles, both behind and in front of the camera. "Our hope is that they’ll push industry leaders to address the ongoing violations of civil rights women directors in the industry have experienced and are experiencing," Melissa Goodman, director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California, said in a statement. "We are confident that the government will corroborate our work and push industry leaders to address the ongoing violations of the legal and civil rights of these directors and of all women in the film and television industries."
Who knows, maybe the investigation will uncover enough dirt to warrant its own movie, a la "Spotlight." We hope it would have a woman director.
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