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Thirty Percent of Prime-Time TV Writers Are Female; Only Twenty Percent More to Go, People

Cautiously Optimistic

It’s no secret that the vast majority of the higher-up behind-the-scenes roles in the television industry are held by men. But as this year’s edition of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film‘s annual survey of prime-time TV’s gender breakdown shows, the gap isn’t nearly as wide as it used to be.

Taking a look at the 2011-12 season, the study found that 26 percent of the seven job titles they looked at—creators, executive producers, producers, writers, directors, editors and cinematographers—were held by women, a one percent rise from last season and five percentage points up from 1997-98. Not a heck of a lot, but hey, we’ll take it.

The really impressive part comes when you take a look at individual jobs, though. The female creator count, now at 26 percent, jumped eight percent from last year, and the female executive producer count (25 percent) jumped three percent. The biggest shift took place in the writers’ rooms: Last season, thirty percent of writers working on prime-time dramas, sitcoms and reality shows were female, double the previous year’s count. I can’t be sure, but I assume Tina Fey must’ve done something to make that happen.

It’s not all progress, progress, progress, though: The number of women working as directors stayed flat, and the number of female editors actually dropped seven percentage points. Then there’s the fact that the prime-time female presence is clustered around a small number of shows: 90 percent of the shows included in the study don’t employ a single female director, and 68 percent don’t have any female writers. Still, with the number of high-profile showrunners on the rise—Fey, Lena Dunham, Shonda Rhimes—things should continue getting better, not worse, in the years to come.

(via: The Wrap)

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