Want to see more women calling the shots in Hollywood? Here are 5 things that need to happen.

The numbers don't lie: There are almost zero female directors in Hollywood.

Lena Dunham, one of the few women calling the shots in Hollywood. Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images Entertainment.


That also applies to women in other roles behind the camera, and even in front of it.

In the top 700 grossing films from 2007 to 2014, women made up only 30.2% of speaking roles. In 2014, only 1.9% of directors who made the top 100 grossing films were women. And this is just from one study, conducted by the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg.

A recent New York Times article uncovered some reasons (read: excuses) for why this is the case, from studios prioritizing movies with male leads because of foreign audiences to the confounding idea that women don't want to direct blockbusters. (Spoiler alert: They do.)

The whole article is an engrossing, outrage-inducing read. Yet within the many anecdotes from female directors about discrimination they've experienced lie many potential solutions. Here are five:

1. The few women who do have a foot inside Hollywood's door need to support other women.

Apparently, in Hollywood, women don't often find support from other women. Even when some women make it to the top — such as the ones who run two of Hollywood's big six studios — they don't always extend a hand to other female directors or even actresses.

When an industry only makes room for one or two women to succeed, those women are less likely to support other women out of fear that they'll be replaced by the very women they mentored.

Another fear that keeps women from working together in Hollywood is being pigeonholed as someone who can only work on movies for women. Former Sony Co-Chairperson Amy Pascal explained that after producing female-driven hits earlier in her tenure, she felt she wouldn't be given a chance to make more mainstream projects.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment.

As long as it's every woman for herself, women are going to remain tokens in a male-dominated Hollywood. Many of the female directors and producers who spoke to the New York Times stressed the importance of making change by working together.

Pascal herself is getting back to producing movies about women, including the all-female "Ghostbusters" reboot.

2. Men in Hollywood need to mentor outside their comfort zone — i.e., they need to mentor women.

The Times piece opens with the charmed upward trajectory of director Colin Trevorrow, who went to the Sundance Film Festival with an indie romantic comedy. Pixar director Brad Bird ("The Incredibles") then introduced him to Steven Spielberg, who picked Trevorrow to direct "Jurassic World." Bird said he liked Trevorrow because Trevorrow "reminded me of me." Meanwhile, director Leslye Headland also had her indie romantic comedy, "Bachelorette," screen at Sundance and got no such recommendation or opportunity.

There could be many reasons why Headland didn't come away from her Sundance screening with an opportunity like that. But Bird related to Trevorrow because he saw himself in him. So it makes (unfortunate) sense that women are less likely to get the opportunities their male counterparts get simply because the men who offer them don't see themselves reflected in female directors.

Hollywood has to stop thinking of women-driven films as niche, or women directors as too unrelatable to mentor. And men in positions of power in Hollywood need to make sure they're mentoring women just as often as they're mentoring men.

3. The success of people like Shonda Rhimes, Jennifer Lawrence, and Amy Schumer shouldn't be exceptions to the rule.

Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment.


As far as Hollywood is concerned, "The Hunger Games" succeeded only because of Jennifer Lawrence, "Trainwreck" succeeded only because of of Amy Schumer, and "Scandal" and "How to Get Away With Murder" are only successes because of Shonda Rhimes — not because women in general are capable of creating films and shows for a large audience, but because these specific few, rare women are talented enough to have mainstream appeal.

Successful female-driven films and TV shows are thought to be exceptions to the rule, rather than profitable and resonant in their own right. And when a female-driven film or show flops, it's often assumed that it flopped because of women, even though when movies with male leads flop, the overwhelming maleness of the film is never cited as a reason why.

Luckily, there are Hollywood power players who are investing in women-directed films and television shows. Besides Rhimes, a powerful producer and show-runner, there's Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, and Geena Davis, as well as Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, who are all championing female directors, screenwriters, and characters through their nonprofit organizations and production companies.

"If everyone's gonna pass on all the strong, ass-kicking lady directors and writers out there, we'll take them," says McKay.

4. Hollywood needs to let women be themselves on set.

There are two glaring examples of this in the NYT piece. The first is the case of "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke, who wasn't considered to direct the rest of the franchise after helming the first movie because she was "overly emotional," crying on set during a particularly hard day. And the second is the great Barbra Streisand, who was derided for being "indecisive" when she asked for input on the set of "Yentl."

Yet directors like David O. Russell keep directing Oscar contenders even after he's come to blows with George Clooney, shouted at Lily Tomlin on set, and allegedly "abused" Amy Adams on the set of "American Hustle," according to the Sony email hack.

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images Entertainment.

Cinematographer Rachel Morrison told the NYT about how, when she finally couldn't hide her pregnancy anymore, people stopped booking her on jobs.

"It should have been up to me if I was capable to work or not," Morrison said. As much as male directors are given free rein over their sets and their schedules — and their emotional outbursts — the same opportunities should be available to women.

5. Women should feel just as empowered and entitled to help themselves as their male peers do.

It's inevitable that all this sexism is internalized, at least somewhat. Which is probably why Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy told the Times that no woman expressed interest to her in directing "Star Wars." It's also why, as director Allison Anders explained, that in Hollywood negotiations, "The men are like: 'Oh please, yes. I want to do this.' Women are a little too suspicious, too cautious and a little too precious about their reality."

This is the "Lean In" phenomenon. Women need to lean in and ask for more in order to get success. And that's good advice for individual women to internalize, but does it help on a systemic level?

As "Girls" creator Lena Dunham pointed out, there is a flaw in putting the pressure on women to fix the problems in a system where sexism is so prevalent and power is so often held by men:

"I feel like we do too much telling women: 'You aren't aggressive enough. You haven't made yourself known enough.' And it's like, women shouldn't be having to hustle twice as fast to get what men achieve just by showing up."

So how do we fix this?

We're seeing progress, slowly but surely, as more and more female-driven films and shows succeed. And even industry executives can't deny the pattern of what shows and movies are bringing in the most money.

But there are two things that need to happen to make sure this progress continues until we reach a point of gender parity: One, women have to fight for themselves and support each other, and two, men have to support women too.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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