Sexism in Hollywood: A Timeline

The facts are the facts. And unfortunately, those facts are just not telling us what we want to hear because sexism, while prevalent throughout many industries around the world, is a continuous theme in Hollywood.

And while more women are breaking down barriers and establishing themselves in the industry, statistics — not to mention testimonies — are still showing little improvement.

To break it down numerically, data continues to reveal the following:
• "39 percent of protagonists in films from female writers and directors were women, whereas women were 4 percent of the lead characters in films from male filmmakers." (Variety)
• "Male characters were more likely to have work-related goals than personal life-related goals (75/25), but women were split evenly between the two ambitions (48/52)" (TIME)
• "Statistics are at a level worse than what they were in 1998." (We Women)

Even before the 2000s, celebrated female actresses, producers, writers, and others have taken a stand to resolve the issue.

Click through the gallery above to see a timeline of sexism in the industry from 2005 to today and see for yourself the progress that still needs to be made.

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Photo Credit: JB Lacroix/WireImage


2005 Kirstie Alley talks with Ms. Magazine about her hit sitcom "Fat Actress," a show which challenges Hollywood standards of body image for women. When Alley asked her agent why she couldn't get a TV show first and then lose weight, the response was that it "doesn't work that way." But Alley didn't buy it. "Do you think they said to Marlon Brando, 'Hey Marlon, you're a little bit too f***ing fat to do 'Apocalypse'?" Photo Credit: Noam Galai/WireImage

2008 After her role in "Never Back Down," Amber Heard opened up about her challenges finding empowering roles: "The amount of roles that have strong female characters... and with a reason to be there other than a pretty face or to add some sex appeal, are scarce — few and far between." Photo Credit: REUTERS/Yves Herman

2009 "Three of the nominated films this year have 26 men and one woman [in featured roles] — 'Slumdog [Millionaire]' and 'Milk,' and 'Frost/Nixon.' You know, we accept it. It's not unusual. But we would go nuts if three of the nominated films had 26 women and one man. It would be a very, very unusual thing... We're still not telling everybody's story in our country and that's where we are," Meryl Streep told ABC News in 2009. Photo Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage

2010 According to "The Guardian," MAKER Helen Mirren lashed out about sexism in Hollywood and accused the industry of "worshipping "at the altar of the 18- to 25-year-old male and his penis." Photo Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

2011 Mila Kunis opened up in a GQ interview about the difficulties of being a female in Hollywood. "You have no idea how hard it is for a woman in this business. A lot of people don’t even think women are funny. It's f***ed up, but you have to deal with guys like that. I've learned to roll with it." Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

2012 In an interview with "Teen Vogue," "Spider-Man" actors Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield briefly touched on the obvious difference in the questions they are often asked in interviews. "They ask who is my style icon, what's the one thing that I can't leave my house without," Stone answered. And when Garfield responded saying he never was asked questions like that, her response? "You get asked interesting, poignant questions because you are a boy... It's sexism." Photo Credit: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

2013 In its February 2013 issue, "GQ" magazine quoted Beyoncé in an interview, "You know, equality is a myth, and for some reason, everyone accepts the fact that women don't make as much money as men do. I don't understand that. Why do we have to take a backseat?" Photo Credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

2014 Jennifer Garner boldly took the stage of the 2014 ELLE Women In Hollywood event, stating: "The fact that there even needs to be a Women in Hollywood event is a little bit sad... I mean, the men in Hollywood event is every day — it's called Hollywood. Fifty-one percent of the population should not have to have to schedule a special event to celebrate the fact that in an art that tells the story of what it means to be human and alive, we get to play a part." Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

2015 In an open letter for Lenny, actress Jennifer Lawrence opened up about being paid less than her male counterparts. "I didn't want to seem 'difficult' or 'spoiled' … This is an element of my personality that I've been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don't think I'm the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? … Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn't 'offend' or 'scare' men? Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

2015 Upon winning her first Emmy, Viola Davis gave a compelling speech about diversity in Hollywood, beginning with a quote from Harriet Tubman. "The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity," Davis began in her own words, "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there." She dedicated to her award to all of the writers, like Shonda Rhimes, and actresses like Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson, and Gabrielle Union, who have "redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a woman." Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake

2016 In an email interview with USA Today, Oscar winning actress Geena Davis told the news outlet that "the concept of diversity needs to include women, not be a separate topic," because even in 2016, "films and television do not reflect the real, diverse world — and the world is 51 percent female." Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

2016 "You have to be twice as good to get half of what they have," Kerry Washington told E! News of being a black actress in the industry. "The pressure to be extraordinary [is the] same for women... You just know, you have to be twice as good. In a way, until girls don't have that feeling, we will not have done our jobs." Photo Credit: JB Lacroix/WireImage