Tag Archives: Gender Discrimination

Assessing the Gender Gap in the Film Industry

IMDb, the Internet Movie Database is a massive resource, offering a unique picture of the global film industry. The IMDb list of Actors and Actresses is one of the many databases that we’ve used to evaluate how accurate our Gendre API is in predicting gender from personal names.

IMDb also provides a list of world film directors. The file does not include a title or a gender. We’ve set a task for ourselves: to independently measure the gender gap among movie directors globally.

A previous study found -from assessing the gender of 11,197 directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, and editors-  that only one quarter of all narrative content creators were female. Can we confirm the findings of this study by enriching the gender information of 337,548 IMDb film directors, in all countries of the world?

IMDb Movie Directors – the Gender Gap

Our findings confirm the previous study. We were able to infer gender from 98% of the names in minutes. That’s the power of OpenData combined with APIs : they can do a lot of work for you!



A previous study : ‘Exploring the Barriers and Opportunities for Independent Women Filmmakers’

We reproduce the main quantitative findings below:

Executive Summary

Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles
Women Filmmakers Initiative

Exploring the Barriers and Opportunities for Independent Women Filmmakers
Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., Katherine Pieper, Ph.D. & Marc Choueiti

Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

University of Southern California

The purpose of this research is to examine how females are faring in American independent film. Studies have been conducted in the past on women in the mainstream U.S. film industry, but little research has yet been done in the U.S. independent film arena. To this end, we developed
a research strategy with a two-prong approach.
First, we quantitatively document the involvement of female content creators of U.S. films at the Sundance Film Festival, assessing the gender of 11,197 directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, and editors across 820 films classified as U.S. narratives (534 films) or documentaries (286 films) between 2002 and 2012.
The second prong documents the qualitative experiences of female filmmakers through interviews with emerging and seasoned content creators as well as key industry gate-keepers. Here, we surveyed 51 individuals to unpack the specific obstacles that face female directors and producers in the independent film arena. We also assessed participants’ perceptions of opportunities that may increase women’s involvement behind the camera. Below is a summary of key findings.

Quantitative Findings: American Films at the Sundance Film Festival 2002-2012
• At the Sundance Film Festival from 2002-2012, one quarter (25.3%, n=1,911) of all narrative content creators (i.e., directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, editors) were female and 39.1% (n=1,422) of all documentary content creators were female. This translates into a behind-the-camera gender ratio of 2.96 males to every 1 female in narratives and 1.56 males to every 1 female in documentaries.
• Females were half as likely to be directors of U.S. narratives (16.9%) than U.S. documentaries (34.5%). Similar disparity by storytelling platform (narrative vs. documentary) was found among female writers (20.6% vs. 32.8%), female producers (29.4% vs. 45.9%), female cinematographers (9.5% vs. 19.9%), and female editors (22% vs. 35.8%).

The full report can be download here.

Considering cultural differences

Can we dig deeper? As in any global industry, cultural differences are key to explain any phenomenon. But in the case of a cultural industry, the gender gap is not just a phenomenon – it’s also a causal factor: with films reproducing cultural clichés from one generation to the next, or conversely introducing cultural revolutions in a particular country. The role of foreign films directors in this process is essential.

At NamSor, we invented a simple yet efficient tool to represent cultural differences and diversity, the onoma(s)tic millefeuille:


Combining gender and cultural information, we found -for example- that women represent 26% of film directors having a French name, whereas for Algeria that figure drops to 19% and Japan 14%.

Meet us on 29 April 2014 at DataTuesday Paris with Girls in Tech Paris, on the topic ‘Women & Data’.

Further reading:

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Onomastics API for Gender Studies

[AGENDA] Meet us on 29 April 2014 at DataTuesday Paris with Girls in Tech Paris, on the topic ‘Women & Data’.

Gender Equality in French Politics

Women fill 26.17% of the seats at the French National Assembly (‘L’Assemblée Nationale’), according to the count of ‘M.’ and ‘Mme’ at
That’s double the figure of ten years ago (2002: 10.9%), good job ladies!

If that list did not indicate M. and Mme, could we still recognize the gender from the politician name? NamSor has published a simple API for Gender Studies which would give the following result: 26.31% (more that 99% accurate compared to the actual figure).

What about the Corporate World?

Playing with old data from a previous life in the corporate world (which cannot be disclosed), applied onomastics tell us that among ~4000 top company executives with a median base salary of 230,000 $ (USD), men landed a neat 890 million $ while women got 143 million $ in total. This huge gap is the result of less women having a top job and men earning ~20% more on average for the same job.


Currently, the  Gendre API is in Beta Version and free to use.

Read also:


You can download the sample program GenderEquality.java.zip

Detailed input/output

https://namsor-gendre.p.mashape.com/gendre/Damien/Abad/fr returned -0.9979281991518565
https://namsor-gendre.p.mashape.com/gendre/Laurence/Abeille/fr returned 0.9984725610426144
https://namsor-gendre.p.mashape.com/gendre/Ibrahim/Aboubacar/fr returned -1.0
https://namsor-gendre.p.mashape.com/gendre/Élie/Aboud/fr returned -0.9749559773038545
https://namsor-gendre.p.mashape.com/gendre/Bernard/Accoyer/fr returned -0.9996548690100067
https://namsor-gendre.p.mashape.com/gendre/Patricia/Adam/fr returned 0.9997681752981121
[…] namsor_api_calls.zip

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