hollywood's gender problem has now triggered a federal investigation

Following recent damning statistics about the lack of women in Hollywood, the American Civil Liberties Union has stepped in.

by Hannah Ongley
12 May 2016, 5:05pm

News at 11: Hollywood has a crippling gender imbalance. Patricia Arquette, Carey Mulligan, Kristen Stewart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Amanda SeyfriedMeryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, and Cate Blanchett are a few but not all of the actresses who spoke out on the issue last year. Add race into the mix and the crisis becomes so dire that one team of researchers suggested the phrase "epidemic of invisibility." Does reading studies and statistics — which now show that less than 7 percent of top movies last year were directed by women — help the problem or simply desensitize us to the seemingly unchanging status quo? 

Well, the latest study underway might finally help to shift the film industry's patriarchal landscape. Yesterday an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union confirmed to the Associated Press that federal officials have launched an investigation into whether gender discrimination exists in Hollywood. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs have responded to the ACLU's request with a "wide-ranging and well-resourced investigation."

"We're very encouraged by how seriously the government has taken this," said attorney Melissa Goodman, director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California. "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." She notes that the process includes meeting with directors and other stakeholders in the industry.

The downside? We might not get to see the results. According to federal law, investigators are not required to publish their findings. Still, it's not hard to guess what they might be. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Image © 2015 The Weinstein Company. All rights reserved.