During the 2009-2010 television season, women made up 29% of the working writers on broadcast programs. This figure dropped to 15% for the 2010-2011 season. Similarly, the number of women directors fell from 16% to 11%. And that’s just behind the scenes. Only 41% of characters on television are women, another annually declining figure.
The seemingly rapid decline of women involved in all aspects of television is especially alarming when you consider that women only make up 25% of all writers, producers, creators, directors, executive producers, editors, and directors of photography on prime-time broadcast television as it is.
Where are the women in television? The lack of women in any specific role inevitably effects the presence of women in others. For example, according to a recent study, ‘television programs with at least one woman creator or writer featured more female characters than programs with no women creators or writers.’ Sadly, the shows with the greatest female presence are the likes of Gossip Girl and Hellcats; not necessarily the most empowering subject matters.
It’s extremely disheartening that without the influence of women, men won’t create or write interesting or strong female characters. Struggling female artists of the world, please don’t let this be discouraging and please don’t give up. The world needs you. Women need you.
For inspiration, and to get a peak into what life is really like for a female television writer, actress, and producer, I would highly recommend Bossypants by Tina Fey. And for the love of god get the audiobook read by Fey. She is a true comedic genius. And there are more women like her out there, they just need to keep their heads up and keep trying.