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Is Hollywood discriminating against female directors?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency tasked with "enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee" on the basis of things like disability, race, age or other membership in other protected classes, is now setting its sights on the bright lights of Hollywood.

The agency, spurred on in large part by the recent lobbying efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, is now actively investigating whether the powers-that-be in Tinseltown are actively discriminating against female television and film directors.

According to reports, EEOC investigators are currently interviewing female directors with the twofold aim of uncovering 1) patterns of gender discrimination among the TV networks, film studios, management companies, and even the Directors Guild of America, and 2) specific instances of gender discrimination either experienced or witnessed by female directors.

While some may question the need for such an investigation, consider the following staggering statistics:

  • Women currently direct only about 16 percent of episodic TV productions.
  • Women directed fewer than five percent of 2014's major studio releases.

Furthermore, while most people think of Hollywood as being a fairly progressive place, consider that this is not the first time that the film and television industry have been investigated by the EEOC for potentially discriminatory conduct. Indeed, the most recent probe came back in 1984 when the EEOC was then-headed by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

As for what the EEOC could actually do in the event it does determine that female directors are being subjected to systemic discrimination in film and TV, it can proceed with a major class action lawsuit against the entire industry.

Stay tuned for updates on this important story.

If you believe that you've been subjected to any sort of otherwise prohibited discrimination, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about enforcing your rights.

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