When it comes to diversity and the fight for equality, never has there been more noise made in Hollywood than in the past year. A 2017 study found that, of the 100 top-grossing films of 2016, 47 of them did not feature a single woman of colour in a speaking role. Sixty-six of them lacked a single Asian female character and only 28 featured a Latina woman. The needle for female-lead speaking roles has hardly moved in 10 years and when it comes to women helming the films themselves, the statistics are even more dismal. According to an investigation by the Annenberg Foundation, examining 1100 popular films, the ratio of males to females with their names gracing a director’s chair sits at roughly 22:1, with only 43 female directors appearing in the last decade. Females are more likely to make just one film (as if the pressure for that film to succeed isn’t enough) and there is a proven disparity between the major studios and women who aren’t Caucasian. When it comes to the C-suite and board of directors at those same studios, the percentage of women reads 17.9 percent and 18.8 percent respectively.
Before the #MeToo-Time’s Up-Weinstein can of worms was opened, we were already on the back foot. Therefore, beyond speaking up about sexual misconduct and systemic abuse, Frances McDormand’s Oscars call for an inclusivity rider – a contract that an actor or film creative can request to ensure the field is fair – was so important. “You can ask for it and demand 50 per cent diversity in crew,” she said backstage at the Oscars. “The whole idea of women not trending, African Americans not trending, it changes now and the inclusion rider has something to do with that.”
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