Women reviewing films for mainstream media moved closer to gender parity last year, but continued underrepresentation is hurting their job numbers and doing moviegoers a disservice, new research suggests .
By the end of this spring, 34% of film critics who relied on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and worked for print, broadcast and digital platforms were women, according to a report titled Thumbs Down 2019: Film Critics and Gender, and Why It Matters.
The study is the annual undertaking of the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television at San Diego State University, led by renowned researcher Dr. Martha Lauzen. First conducted in 2007, this year’s report found a 2% increase over 2018, although male reviewers accounted for 66%.
By dominating the critical conversation across outlets and film genres, Lauzen’s team laments that “in this genre-myopic world of cinema, not only do men represent the majority of our filmmakers, they are also more likely to have the final say on the quality of our films.
The first finding is that male critics are less likely to name a film’s director if it is a woman, and furthermore do not detail a female director’s previous credits or establish her credibility for the reader.
“On average, female critics give higher ratings than their male counterparts to films with female leads, and are more likely to include the names of female directors when writing reviews of films with female directors,” says the study.