women writers panel diversity variety

Variety’s TV Writers’ Panel Apparently Forgot Women Exist, so Women Formed Their Own

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Variety sent out invitations for an upcoming writing panel the trade is hosting, and some of the recipients immediately noticed a glaring problem with the lineup. Of the twelve showrunners speaking–six on a comedy panel, six drama–only one, Mom co-creator Gemma Baker, is a woman.

Making this even more infuriating, today, Wednesday, June 6th, Variety is hosting a “Path to Parity” women’s summit to talk about gender equality in Hollywood. That conference is slated to be much more balanced in the genders of its speakers (including Mila Kunis, Seth Meyers, Gloria Allred, Jill Soloway, Kenya Barris, and more), which is great and all, but an event shouldn’t have to be about gender parity to see it exemplified. Especially not when there are so many women working at the top of their field.

Because it’s not like the organizers of Variety’s writers’ panels didn’t have plenty of women and nonbinary writers to choose from. Busy Phillips took to Twitter to show just how many come up with even a cursory Google search.

Variety’s omission of women is frustrating, but female writers mobilized their anger and the result was inspiring.

Liz Hannah, the writer of The Post, put a call out for female showrunners to form their own panel and the interest and support she received was immense.

Variety has also apologized and says it’s “working on rectifying [their] mistake.”

Which is a great reminder that, while it would be nice if women weren’t so often overlooked in these situations, our outrage can effect change.

(via Refinery29, image: Matthew Henry from Burst)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.