A recent report hardly painted a rosy picture of the gender balance in Hollywood: Just 4 per cent of the top 1,200 movies from the past 12 years had been directed by women. Deep in the report, another jarring figure leapt out at me. Looking at the most lucrative films from 2016 to 2018, researchers found that just four of the 276 key grips working on those films were women.

A few questions popped to mind. Who were these women? What were their work lives like? And what exactly are key grips?

The researchers, at the University of Southern California,


Tana Dubbe


Melanie Ragone

Vanessa Alexis

Melissa Beaupre