In the first two installments of this five-part series on the gender gap at the Oscars and BAFTAs, we found:
- From all ceremonies, an average of 19.6 women at BAFTA and 14.4 women at the Academy Awards are nominated per year. The male BAFTA average is 97.4 men per year and the Oscars average is 114.7.
- In the last 20 years only, the total number of female BAFTA nominees are 621, compared to 2628 men.
- In the last 20 years, the total number of female Oscar nominees are 583, compared to 2646 men.
These figures show the total number of male and female nominees and winners. Perhaps the averages of female nominees and winners a year, taken from the past two decades only, will reveal a positive trend. Below, figures 4a and 4b show a marked improvement on the ‘all-time’ averages.
Figures 4a and 4b both show that while there is still a ways to go to gain complete gender-equality in both awards groups, there has been some clear improvement – albeit a small amount. Figure 4a tells us that the average number of female nominees per year for BAFTA and the Academy are 31 and 29.6, respectively – up from the all-time averages of 14.4 women nominated per year at the Oscars and 19.6 women nominated per year at BAFTA.
Figure 4b tells a similar story with the average number of female winners per year in the last 20 years only. BAFTA boast an average of 7.2 awarded women a year and the Oscars has an average of 6 awarded women a year. Once more, while these averages surely shouldn’t be celebrated by either academy, they are a definite improvement on the historic averages: 4.3 at BAFTA and 2.9 at the Oscars. The average is almost doubled.
While these stats may suggest positive advancement at first glance, they are actually quite deceiving, only masking the still prevalent issue. Yes, the number of women nominated and awarded a year has risen in the past 20 years (as have the averages), but so too has the number of men nominated and awarded per year, and their averages too.
It is the number of people nominated and winning that has risen, regardless of gender, rather than the number of women specifically. Hence, no real change has happened and no real progress has been made – based on the above data, that is.
Below, figures 5a, 5b, 5c and 5d show the percentage split of male and female nominees and winners at BAFTA, comparing the all-time figures with the numbers of the last 20 years only. Figures 5a and 5c, on the left hand side, are the percentages from the past 20 years only, while figures 5b and 5d, on the right hand side, are the ‘all-time’ percentages.
These figures are quite telling. The percentage of total female nominees has actually, ever so slightly, fallen. Figure 5b shows that 20.1% of all BAFTA nominees are women, whereas the percentage of BAFTA nominees who are women in the last 20 years only is 19.1%, as shown in figure 5a. A slight drop, but still a drop.
There is conflicting data here, however, as the percentage of BAFTA winners who are women has risen, again discretely. Figure 5d shows that the all time percentage of female BAFTA winners is 18.7%, while figure 5c tells us that the percentage of female BAFTA winners in the last 20 years only is 19.9%. Ultimately, these rises and drops are minute, perhaps even insignificant. The fact is, nothing has really changed for BAFTA; the imbalance of male and female nominees and winners remains the same.
The Oscars’ percentages, meanwhile, are more positive in terms of progress. Below, figures 6a, 6b, 6c and 6d show the Oscars’ gender split of nominees and winners.
These figures are much the same as BAFTA’s. The percentages themselves are disproportionate, again, favoring men unequivocally, as per every other statistic in this study. Only 18% of all Oscar nominees and 18% of all winners in the past 20 years are female, while only 11% of all Oscar nominees and 11% of all winners ever are female. The reason why these percentages are more favorable is the clear, definite rise in the percentage of female nominees and winners. The percentages have gone up from 11% in the all-time figures to 18% in the figures from the last 20 years. A significant rise of 7% in each.
This means that although BAFTA’s percentages of female nominees and winners are currently higher, the Oscars have made much better progress and found genuine improvement in their data – whereas BAFTA has made no progress at all. If the academy’s trajectory continues, they will soon overtake BAFTA and their ratio of women to men will level out much faster.
Because of this notion, its important to analyze the data more closely to determine how much progress is really being made on a consistent basis, by both awards groups. Furthermore, since studying the ratio of men nominated and awarded to women nominated and awarded is much more revealing and reliable than studying the numbers, we will continue to use percentages to dissect the data. In the soon-to-be-published part four, I show the percentages of female nominees and winners per decade.