Hollywood movie studios are finally being put under the microscope for the systemic discrimination of female directors and other women behind the camera.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just launched a probe looking into why there are so few female directors in film and television.
The Times reports that several female directors have been called in to talk to the EEOC about their negative experiences working as a woman in Hollywood. The same organization was hesitant to launch an investigation two years ago unless a brave female director filed a lawsuit against of the studios. But of course no one did, because it would have been career suicide to stand against a multi billion-dollar conglomerate.
Now, more women feel as though they can speak up, including Lori Precious, who directs music videos and commercials. “It feels historic,” she told the Times after receiving a letter from the EEOC asking to interview her about her experiences.
“We were all hoping it would go this far. I’m so tired of hearing, ‘There aren’t qualified women.’ There are qualified women to do every directing job in Hollywood.”
According to Deadline, less than 5% of major studio releases this year were directed by women.
Gender discrimination is a topic that’s been discussed often by Hollywood’s leading ladies for years, including Oscar-winner Geena Davis, who, in 2006, founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media. The organization works to educate against gender bias and stereotyping in films, especially those seen by young and impressionable audiences.
And Patricia Arquette famously brought up wage inequality when accepting her Academy Award last year, saying, “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Here’s hoping the federal investigation into Hollywood’s gender bias will produce some results that will make watching the end credits a good – not groan-worthy – activity, and that women will be just as visible behind the cameras as in front of them.
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