The gender imbalance behind the scenes of the film industry certainly isn't news — but that doesn't mean we should stop talking about it. According to a recent study, women only accounted for 7 percent of the directors behind the top 250 movies of 2016.
While the reasons for correcting this imbalance should already be self-evident, it's interesting to note that, according to the same study, putting more women behind the camera would also likely be a win for women in front of it. In movies last year with at least one female writer and/or director, for example, women made up 57 percent of protagonists, as opposed to 18 percent from male filmmakers.
In celebration of the talented women who are breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry, take some time this Women's History Month to watch one of these great movies from female directors. Thanks to streaming options such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, all it takes to watch is the click of a button.
If you want to extend your viewing to the entire year, consider joining more than 10,000 other movie lovers in taking Women in Film's pledge to watch 52 films by women — one per week.
1. Bridget Jones's Diary
Director: Sharon Maguire
Renée Zellweger stars as author Helen Fielding's lovably awkward heroine in the first installment of the British romantic comedy series. Maguire also directed the most recent film, Bridget Jones's Baby. Consider watching this one solo — with or without a bottle of wine.
Director: Ava DuVernay
DuVernay recently made history as the first woman of color to helm a $100 million live-action movie. She was also just nominated for her first Academy Award for directing this much talked-about documentary examining racial inequality and the prison system in the United States.
3. Point Break
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
In 2011, Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director, for her work on the film The Hurt Locker. Twenty years earlier, she debuted Point Break, about an FBI agent infiltrating a gang of surfers suspected of robbing banks.
4. Me and You and Everyone We Know
Director: Miranda July
July, an author and performance artist, made her feature directorial debut with this unusual and affecting indie film about the increasing complexity of human connection. She also wrote the screenplay and stars as the film's female lead.
5. The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Director: Mira Nair
This thriller, starring Riz Ahmed and Kate Hudson, examines the treatment of Muslims in a post-9/11 United States. Nair is also known for directing several well-received films focused on Indian characters, including Mississippi Masala and Monsoon Wedding.
6. Deep Impact
Director: Mimi Leder
Epic blockbusters such as this one are often associated with men — both behind the camera and in the audience. But just as women can enjoy action-packed movies, Deep Impact (about Earth's response to an approaching comet) proves they can also direct them.
7. Take This Waltz
Director: Sarah Polley
Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen star in this film, which opened at the Toronto Film Festival and tells the story of a married woman dealing with her feelings for a new neighbor. Sarah Polley, the film's director, is also an actress and a political activist.
8. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
This feature film debut from Amirpour, which premiered at Sundance, is described as "the first Iranian vampire spaghetti western," which should be all the reason you need to give it a shot. It was filmed in black and white, and features actors speaking Farsi.
Director: Patty Jenkins
Charlize Theron won an Academy Award for her portrayal of real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in this film from director Patty Jenkins, who also recently helmed the new Wonder Woman movie, due out in theaters this summer.
10. The Piano
Director: Jane Campion
This film, about a mute piano player in 19th century New Zealand, won three Academy Awards, including acting awards for Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin, as well as Best Original Screenplay for writer/director Jane Campion, who is also the only female filmmaker to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes.
Director: Dee Rees
This Sundance film focuses on a teenage girl and her family coming to terms with her identity as a lesbian. More recently, Dee Rees, who has called the film semi-autobiographical, was one of the directors of ABC's miniseries When We Rise, which focused on LGBTQ issues.
Director: Amy Heckerling
Cher Horowitz, one of the 1990s' most iconic female protagonists, was created by a female writer-director. The cult comedy, which is a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Emma, is currently being developed into a jukebox musical by Heckerling.
13. Tiny Furniture
Director: Lena Dunham
Before she created HBO's Girls, Lena Dunham wrote, directed, and starred in this indie dramedy about a recent college graduate moving home and dealing with questions of her future and romantic life. Dunham cast her real-life mother and sister in the film.
14. The Babadook
Director: Jennifer Kent
Every movie list needs at least one horror flick. This one, Kent's directorial debut, tells the story of a widow and her son who are terrorized by a monster from a children's book. Although it wasn't a success in its original Australian release, it's reached cult status in the United States.
15. Across the Universe
Director: Julie Taymor
This musical brings songs by the Beatles to life in a fantastical story of young lovers in the 1960s. Taymor was the first woman to win the Tony Award for directing a musical, for her work on the Broadway production of The Lion King.