Here are jobs women are getting hired and not hired for in the film industry

Here are jobs women are getting hired and not hired for in the film industry

The 95th Academy Awards are in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 12, and it’s Women’s History Month. Here are some statistics on women’s employment in the movie business, both in front of and behind the cameras.

Domestic box office grosses rebounded from 2021’s cellar year, with blockbuster films such as “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World: Dominion.” But they have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels.

Behind the camera

Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D, has been tracking employment in the movie business for 25 years and released the “Celluloid Ceiling” report released in January. The report looks at how women have fared in top 100 and 250 grossing films in the U.S. This report does not include women’s employment in feature-length films released by streaming services. There will be another report covering those details.

Ups and downs

In 2022, women comprised 24% of directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 grossing films.

Laurzen’s report notes that due to the closure of many theaters during the pandemic, comparisons between numbers from the most affected years – 2021 and 2020 – and previous years should be made with caution.

This year’s report monitored over 2,800 credits on the top grossing films. Since 1998, the study has tracked more than 78,000 behind-the-scenes credits.

Figures for the top grossing films are based on numbers obtained from Box Office Mojo on Jan.1, 2023.

In front of the camera

Martha M. Lauzen Ph.D released the report “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: Portrayals of Female Characters in the Top Grossing U.S. Films of 2022” Tuesday. The yearly report has monitored portrayals of girls and women in the top 100 domestic grossing films since 2002. It is the longest-running and most comprehensive study of women’s representation in film available. The report has analysis of more than 2,100 characters appearing in films in 2022 and characters appearing in more than 1,200 films in the last two decades.


The percentage of U.S. top grossing films featuring female protagonists increased slightly from 31% in 2021 to 33% (33.3%) in 2022. Protagonists are the characters from whose perspective the story is told.

Major characters

In 2022, females accounted for 38% of major characters. Major characters appear in more than one scene and are instrumental to the action of the story. There were no nonbinary or transgender characters in major roles.

The percentage of females as major characters has been relatively stable since 2016, increasing or decreasing by 1 to 3 percentage points from year to year.

Speaking characters

In 2022 37% of speaking characters in the top films were female, 63% were male. The percentage of female characters in speaking roles has fluctuated up or down by just 1 to 3 percentage points from year to year. The was one explicitly nonbinary character and 0.1% of all speaking characters were transgender.

When the majority of female characters remain under 40, they are less likely to hold positions of great personal and/or professional power.

Major characters and age

Findings for major female characters are similar to the findings for all females in speaking roles. Major female characters were younger than major male characters. The majority of major female characters were in their 20s and 30s (54%), while the majority of male characters were in their 30s and 40s (56%).

Marital status

Female characters in speaking roles were more likely than male characters to have a known marital status. 46% of female characters but 36% of male characters had a known marital status.


A larger percentage of male than female characters in speaking roles had an identifiable occupation. 78% of male characters but 65% of female characters had an identifiable job or occupation.

Domestic movie releases by year

496 films were released in the U.S. in 2022. The peak was in 2018 when 993 films were released.

Sources: Martha M. Lauzen, Ph. D, “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid World) Portrayals of Female Characters in the Top Grossing U.S. films of 2022” and “The Celluloid Ceiling 2022 Report,” Box Office Mojo, Nielsen