It’s awards season and that means a lot of fun traditions: debates over dinner with your friends about which movies should win, discussing the new artists that we were blessed with this year (thank you, Lizzo), eating popcorn, yelling over your T.V. when your favorite album doesn’t win and reflecting on a great year of art that helped us all through some of the harder times. While it was heartening to see a lot of women winning at the Grammys, including Billie Eilish – the first woman to win an award in all four categories – there is almost a sense of dread knowing that the Oscars will not be nearly as representative. This year, no women were nominated in a number of categories, including best director.
GRAPHIC COURTESY OF UN WOMEN
Seeing so few women nominated for awards makes us question what the job market looks like for women behind the scenes in film. Did any women direct movies? Yes, of course, and more than ever. According to the New York Times, the amount of women directors has been growing – over 10 percent of the top-rated movies from 2019 were directed by women. That percentage is up over double from 2018, and the highest its been in over a decade. In 2019 overall, 15 percent of all movies were produced by women. While it’s exciting that these numbers seem to be on the rise, this also shows such a scarcity of women in these jobs. Whatever the cause, it definitely showcases an inequality that we should be working to bridge. One way of doing this is by celebrating and highlighting the great movies that women are directing and producing, and how they present meaningful and important messages.
So, if women are not directing that many movies, why is it so important for them to be recognized for the ones that they are? I think that representation is one of the important ways to inspire young girls to take a risk and enter a career that may be seen as “traditionally for men.” Unfortunately, that is exactly what the role of director is seen as, and people are reluctant to change this view - especially those who are funding these films. In an article discussing why women aren’t seen behind the scenes more, the Guardian explains, “Unless something has worked in the past, it's very rare that people will take a risk. There's this perception that, well, traditionally it's a man's role, so we won't buck that.” Luckily, we have trailblazers like Ava DuVerney, Greta Gerwig and Lulu Wang, among others, who are using their talents to tell beautiful stories and inspire girls everywhere to follow their dreams. If we are telling young girls all around the world that they can be anything they want, then they should be able to see themselves in the people winning during awards season.