“We’ve come a long way since the 1990s when many film school programs were still predominantly white, male and lacking significantly in terms of an ethnically and racially diverse student body. USC’s graduating screenwriting program in 1995, for example, consisted of almost four times as many men as women. Its film school faculty was also mostly male — and there were only three female instructors.
“When I first got to USC, I said, if I have to see one more male coming-of-age film I will scream,” says Elizabeth Daley, the longtime dean of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. “They were all the same story about young male angst. And I thought, ‘Can I just see some young female angst?’ ”
Thankfully, times have changed. The student body ratio in both SCA’s graduate and undergraduate programs is roughly 50-50 and its game design and development program currently has more women enrolled than men.
“Starting back in the mid- to late nineties, one of the first things we did was to get women alumni and faculty members to call prospective female applicants and encourage them to apply and be part of things,” says Daley. “We also agreed, as a faculty, that no list, when it came to hiring, would ever be brought in that didn’t have a woman’s name on it. They didn’t have to hire her, but that (list) had to show that they had looked. And it made a real difference to get more women faculty — the program was more welcoming to women. You just have to put your mind to it and say somehow we’re going to make this happen.”
Many other leading film schools are following suit. At American Film Institute, the number of women in the directing discipline has grown from 21% in 2010 to 38% in 2015, and 36% of AFI’s fellows are international, coming from countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Israel and Poland. The MFA in writing for screen and television program at Pepperdine University’s Seaver College is currently about 60% female; about 30% of its students hail from minority groups…”