TimesUp launches 4% challenge, pushes Hollywood to work with more female directors

A growing list of media personalities, including JJ Abrams, Jordan Peele, John Legend, have already taken the pledge.

January 29, 2019

The Sundance Film Festival has long been the harbinger of Hollywood’s next wave, so it makes sense that this year’s festival, currently ongoing, is hoping to be ground zero for a whole new, much-needed shift in mainstream film: more female directors.

The #4PercentChallenge, named such after the shockingly low portion of female-identifying directors behind the 1,200 highest-grossing films over last decade, is a new collaborative movement between TIME’S UP and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative that’s challenging actors and producers across the film industry to make the pledge to work with a female director over the next 18 months. Actress Tessa Thompson (Creed, Sorry to Bother You), announced the movement last Friday night during her keynote speech at Sundance:

An increase in female directors doesn’t just mean more diversity behind the camera: according to the challenge’s website, “studies show that women-directed films are more inclusive in terms of girls and women on screen, female characters 40 years of age and older and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.” Not a hard decision to make, considering the further data showing that female-led films have led at the box office over the past five years.Hollywood’s lack of overall diversity is nothing new, but the near-immediate embrace of the #4PercentChallenge shows an industry filled with those eager for change:

A full and growing list of media personalities who have already taken the pledge—including Amy Schumer, JJ Abrams, Jordan Peele, John Legend, and Reese Witherspoon, among others—can be found on the 4% Challenge website.

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