Women in Film Have Never Been More Powerful by Jennifer Ball
Women make up 51% of the workforce but only 15% have management positions. At least, that’s what we found when we examined gender equality in the events industry. A previous PIE post documented our interview with Annette Gregg, regional vice president for Allied PRA, wherein she explained that there is indeed a lot of female representation, just not enough at the top level positions.
Lately, the issue has become a burning topic in Hollywood, especially with the release of Warner Bros. and DC’s Wonder Woman. The film, which broke box office records by being the highest-grossing film directed by a woman, opened up the conversation on the plight of Hollywood female directors.
Vanity Fair featured Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson, along with her statements on how the success of Wonder Woman could be a catalyst for change. She was quoted saying, “Right now, there seems to be quite a lot of great women directors, but it’s still such a small number. We are making progress, but we still have to kick down the doors to get our voices heard and still have to keep fighting for things. With Wonder Woman and the other great films directed by woman, it’s a start, and I’m hoping it will get a little bit better.” Taylor-Johnson’s two Fifty Shades titles were also a hit, as both earned over 380 million USD globally. The last instalment in the trilogy is slated for release next year.
In recent news, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins finally sealed the deal to direct the sequel. The Hollywood Reporter specified that Jenkins will receive a salary of around $7 million to write, direct and produce Wonder Woman 2. The negotiations were reportedly tough, as Jenkins had to fight for compensation that levels that of Zack Snyder, who also directed a number of big-budget DC superhero films. For context, Jenkins was paid only 1 million USD for her work on Wonder Woman. This new deal is considered a stepping-stone for more female directors to strive towards similar successes in Hollywood.
But the most important question is: why didn’t this happen sooner? Wonder Woman grossed around 800 million USD worldwide, proving that female-fronted superhero movies can be blockbusters. Its release ended a decade-long drought of female superhero films. Furthermore, the Amazon princess has long been promoting the qualities of women in related industries, such as video games. Wonder Woman is already a player favorite in NetherRealm Studio’s Injustice franchise. Additionally, she’s made a big impression on the developers of global platform Slingo, who recently unveiled their Lynda Carter-inspired, Wonder Woman mobile slots game. With her phenomenal impact on the big screen, she essentially paved the way for women to shine further across a myriad of different industries and platforms.
In the real world, though, the true Wonder Woman is Patty Jenkins for being the driving force of the film’s success. In an industry that’s predominantly male, she addressed the issue head-on, which echoed Annette Greg’s sentiments of adopting non-traditional ways for women to persevere for higher positions. By being proactive, women can definitely help alleviate the imbalance on compensation and other forms of acknowledgement. Jenkin’s battle for equality is only the beginning.