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ACLU calls for end to gender disparity in hiring of movie, TV directors

Latest ACLU news.
Latest ACLU news.

The ACLU called today for an end to gender disparity in the hiring of movie and TV directors, alleging systematic discrimination against women.

In letters to state and federal organizations, the organization stated that there should be a government investigation of studios, networks and talent agencies into “overt sex stereotyping and implicit bias.” If an agency uncovers bias, legal charges could be filed, according to the ACLU.

“Women directors aren’t working on an even playing field and aren’t getting a fair opportunity to succeed,” said Melissa Goodman, director of the L.G.B.T., Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California. “Gender discrimination is illegal. And really Hollywood doesn’t get this free pass when it comes to civil rights and gender discrimination.”

The ACLU’s letters cited studies that found women directed less than 5 percent of top-grossing films in recent years and less than 15 percent of recent TV episodes.

Goodman told The Hollywood Reporter that the Directors Guild of America has taken some steps to combat gender disparity, but those steps are “widely viewed as ineffective.”

The three agencies receiving the ACLU letters are the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

“Real change is needed to address this entrenched and long-running problem of discrimination against women directors,” one of the ACLU letters reads. “External investigations and oversight by government entities tasked with enforcing civil rights laws is necessary to effectuate this change.”

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