With the advent of Twitter and the hashtag, people have come up with many creative uses for this simple way of tagging topics. Hashtag activism isn’t normally my thing – mostly because people usually tend to rely *only* on hashtags and not do anything else to further the cause. But sometimes it really is the best way to go about changing things.
An infographic published recently showed just how few women directors there are in the industry. The absolutely dismal numbers caused movie critic Miriam Bale to take to Twitter with the hashtag #hirethesewomen to promote ladies that she thought should be directing films.
I was so outraged to read the infographic on Women & Hollywood that under 5% of women are hired for studio projects. You hear that number often, and can become desensitized to it. But in this, to see that WB and Universal hired 2.9 and 2.6 percent, respectively, it’s so disappointing. As I film critic & programmer I know or have written about so many talented women that would love a studio gig.
By promoting this hashtag, Bale was hoping the studios would realize that they have no excuse for not hiring women because there are plenty to pick from. Some of the problem rests in agents who only present the “safest” possible director to a studio, but Bale said that she realized some of the problem was just getting some of these women on the radar.
#hirethesewomen has exploded with suggestions for women directors coming from all sorts of people. All of the attention seems to be working, at least a little bit. 20th Century Fox decided to start a mentoring program specifically directed at women directors. The Fox Global Directors Initiative is set to select twenty participants for the program. At the end, five finalists will receive additional instruction for 10 months, culminating in Fox producing a short film directed by each finalist. Currently, they have something similar in place for writers, so it’s nice to include directors in all of this.
Even if a director doesn’t get selected as one of the five finalists, it’s a huge step towards being noticed by a studio. Because of this program, the studio will be familiar with her name and be more likely to take her seriously if she ever were to apply for a directing gig with them again.
For more names of awesome women directors, check out #hirethesewomen on Twitter.
- Things We Saw Today: #YesAllWomen
- NYPD Tries to Start a Trending Hashtag, It Does Not Go So Well
- #thatwoman, A Hashtag About the Difficulties of Speaking Up About Gender Politics in the Tech Industry