XX: The depressingly low and yet record high number of women working in primetime television


Let’s talk about chicks, man.

Looking at primetime broadcast television, a record percentage of creative jobs behind the camera went to women in the season ending in 2013. Congratulations, Ovarian Americans!

But that record was just 28%. Boo, oppressive male oligarchy!

While that’s still better than the 20% in the Senate, 18% in the House, and 4.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs currently self-identifying as female (all three of which are, sadly, also records), we expected better of liberal Hollywood.


According to the latest numbers from the (big breath) Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University (gasp!):

  • One third of writers are female,
  • One fourth of show creators,
  • 12% of directors,
  • And a piddly 3% of directors of photography!

Does having a female show creator make a difference to the percentage of actresses vs. actors on a show? You bet your sweet feminine ass, it does. When ladies shape the shows, there’s close to parity with 47% of all characters being women, compared to 41% with male creators.

Overall, 43% of speaking characters are women… and that’s including the big boost the fairer sex gets from reality show competitions:

  • Reality shows: 48% women
  • Sitcoms: 43% women
  • Dramas: 40% women

So there’s a huge problem with scripted shows not writing enough roles for women. But since all you do is gossip and nag, I suppose it’s your own damn fault. AM I RIGHT, FELLAS?!

By network, women are actually a narrow majority (51%) on The CW, just like the nation as a whole. The others are fairly pitiful:

  • FOX: 44% female characters
  • ABC: 44% female characters
  • NBC: 41% female characters
  • CBS: 39% female characters

The whole report is only four pages. Read it.

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