Tuesday, April 02, 2013

WGA Staffing Brief Shows TV Is A Man's World. Ug.

I wish I had better news for all the women TV writers out there, but unfortunately, the picture looks pretty darn bleak. Over the past decade, women have made some gains in TV staffing, but according to the WGA’s latest analysis of the state of diversity in writing staffs, it’s still a white man’s world.

According to The Wrap, the study analyzed employment patterns for 1,722 writers working on 190 broadcast and cable TV shows during the 2011-2012 season, highlighting three specific groups who have traditionally been underemployed in the TV industry: women, minority, and older writers.

Between the 1999-2000 and 2011-12 TV seasons, women writers’ share of TV staff employment increased approximately 5 percentage points, from 25 percent to 30.5 percent. That’s improvement. True. But to put that in perspective, at that rate of increase it will be another 42 years before women reach proportionate representation to men.

It’s no surprise that writing staffs remain dominated by white males. But you might be surprised to learn that roughly 10 percent of TV shows in the 2011-12 season had no female writers on staff at all. Zippo!

I share this information not to depress everybody, (even though it is a bummer) but to put a fire under our rears. Things can change. I think one step towards that change is the Broad Humor Festival. It provides an opportunity for talented, like-minded women to meet and showcase their abundant talent. It’s obvious to me and, through this type of exposure, will become obvious to others that women deserve seats (many seats!) at the writers’ table.

To see the WGA study, visit http://www.wga.org/subpage_whoweare.aspx?id=922

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