Amanda Pendolino
September 04, 2013

Only 28% of TV Creatives Are Women – And That’s an Improvement

More women are now in creative positions in television — but is 28 percent really something to cheer about?

According to a new report from San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, women made up 28 percent of all creators, directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and directors of photography. That’s up 2 percent from 2011-12, and up 7 percentage points since 1997-98.

When it comes to series creators, 24 percent were women, down 2 percentage points from last year but up 6 percentage points from 1997-98. Ladies are also 34 percent of writers (up 4 from last year) and only 12 percent of directors (up 1).

Of course I’m glad the numbers are generally going up, but while The Hollywood Reporter calls this “making strides,” all I can think is we have a lot of work left to do. 

When more women are behind the camera, we see more women represented on screen. Right now, the CW is the only network to feature female characters proportional to real life (51 percent). You might think it’s a network geared toward women — but really, it’s just equal. What does it say about us that the only representative network is seen as something made for women?

Ageism also comes into play when we look at female roles versus male roles. On TV, 42 percent of all major speaking characters are women, and the majority of those female characters (62 percent) were in their 20s and 30s. The majority of male roles (58 percent) were for dudes in their 30s and 40s.

The age of women in film is similarly troubling, something actress Melanie Griffith spoke out against a few weeks ago.

The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t even mention the racial breakdown of women in TV — that’s another area we desperately need to work on.

Ultimately, I’m glad to have those 2 additional percentage points. But let’s not call them “strides” just yet.