A mere day after we reported on the pervasive gender inequality behind the scenes in entertainment media, San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film released their annual Boxed In report on Women On Screen and Behind the Scenes in Television. Although there were no huge surprises about inequality for women behind the scenes in television and on screen, it was surprising (in a bad way) that they found the “employment of women working in key behind-the-scenes positions on broadcast network programs has stalled, with no meaningful progress over the last decade.” SMDH.

Aside from gender equality being healthy in general, we know that representation behind the scenes directly translates to representation on screen. The Boxed In report supports this, finding:

  • “Across platforms, programs with at least 1 woman executive producer featured more female characters in speaking roles and major roles, and more women in other key behind-the- scenes positions, than programs with exclusively male executive producers. For example, on programs with at least 1 woman executive producer, females accounted for 42% of major characters. On programs with exclusively male executive producers, females comprised 33% of major characters.
  • “Across platforms, startlingly high percentages of programs employed no women in the behind-the-scenes roles considered. 97% of the programs considered had no women directors of photography, 86% had no women directors, 76% had no women editors, 75% had no women creators, 74% had no women writers, 25% had no women producers, and 22% had no women executive producers.”

It isn’t just good social sense to employ women and make sure they’re present in media– it’s good business sense. The industry trade Broadcasting & Cable has reported that women viewers “rule broadcast primetime,” and that “without a larger percentage of female viewers, a series is going to have trouble surviving its freshman season.” And Nielsen says that “in the U.S. alone, women make up just over half of the population, and they’re accountable for over $39 trillion dollars. That puts them in charge of 30% of the world’s wealth, and the number is growing.”

SO: We need more women behind the scenes in entertainment media. (Is there an echo in here?)

 

Leona Laurie

Leona Laurie watches a lot of TV and movies and reads very many books all the time. She learns something new about herself every time she watches an episode of Wonder Woman and looks forward to Outlander, The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Steven Universe more than any shows. She also goes to live theater a lot. She is very fun!