‘Enormously unbalanced’: Netflix under fire for lack of female directors

‘Enormously unbalanced’: Netflix under fire for lack of female directors
Popular streaming service Netflix has been criticized for gender bias after researchers found that 96 percent of films and 85 percent of TV shows released on the Swedish version of the site were directed by men.

An evaluation of the site’s content was carried out by the Stockholm Feminist Film Festival, which seeks to promote gender equality in the film industry. The annual festival conducted a study, seen by The Local, of all the films and TV shows on the Swedish site, concluding that just 4 percent of films had a female director.

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Based on figures from netflixable.com, this would mean that on Netflix Sweden 641 of the 668 movies on the site in 2016 were directed by men.

The study also researched the gender balance among other film crew members, finding that 26 percent of producers, 12 percent of lead characters and 13 percent of scriptwriters were women.

Whether the gender bias exists on other regional versions has yet to be studied.

In a statement to The Local, festival head Stephanie Thögersen said “that the offering is so enormously unbalanced is a serious thing. If Netflix wants to contribute to gender equality, it's high time they take in films by women."

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Netflix were far from the only party guilty of failing to address the gender gap, however, with the researchers finding that only 10 percent of movies released in Swedish cinemas in 2016 were directed by women.