When Dr. Lauzen began her research on women’s employment and representation in film and television, the public dialogue on the issue was limited to just a few articles a year in popular media outlets and the trade press, often timed to coordinate with “women’s” events sponsored by industry organizations. Over time, that discussion gained momentum and to date, a wide variety of individuals and organizations – ranging from undergraduate and graduate students to the ACLU and California State Assembly – have used the Center’s findings to make the case for greater employment of women in film and television.
The Center generates a number of large annual studies documenting women’s representation and portrayals, as well as substantial investigations of the business environment surrounding women in film and television. Every year, The Celluloid Ceiling tracks the employment of women working as directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, and editors on the top 250 grossing films. Now in its 18th year, this study has considered more than 47,000 behind-the-scenes credits on over 4,000 films.
For a discussion of on-screen portrayals of female characters, readers can consult It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World. This study examines the representation of female protagonists, major characters, and speaking characters on the top 100 films every year, and discusses how the employment of women in key behind-the-scenes roles is related to on-screen portrayals.
Independent Women monitors women’s behind-the-scenes employment on independently and domestically produced films screening at more than 20 high-profile festivals in the U.S. It is the largest study of women working in independent film available.
Another annual study, Boxed In, examines the portrayals of female characters and the employment of behind-the-scenes women in prime-time television. Now in its 18th year, the study considers broadcast, basic and pay cable, and Netflix programming.
Still other studies produced by the Center investigate the representation of women and men as film critics and writers; and compare the budgets, box office grosses, and DVD sales of movies made by women and men filmmakers.
Through its research and programs, the Center provides the raw material necessary to change the behind-the-scenes and on-screen gender dynamics in the film and television industries, integrating more women into vitally important storytelling roles.