Women who review films for mainstream media inched closer to gender parity last year, but continued underrepresentation is damaging to their employment numbers and a disservice to moviegoers, a new study finds.
At the close of this spring, 34% of film reviewers who were counted on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and working 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 San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television, led by noted researcher Dr. Martha Lauzen. First conducted in 2007, this year’s report found a 2% increase from 2018, though male reviewers account for 66%.
In dominating the critical conversation across outlets and film genres, Lauzen’s team laments that “in this gender myopic movie world, not only do men account for the majority of our filmmakers, they are also more likely to have the last word on the quality of our films.”
Top among the findings is that male critics are less inclined to even name the director of a film if she is a woman, and furthermore do not detail a woman director’s previous credits and establish her credibility for the reader.
“On average, women reviewers award higher ratings than their male counterparts to films with female protagonists, and are more likely to include the name of female directors when writing reviews of films with women directors,” said the study.